Characters: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
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Mr. Willy Wonka
I am preparing other surprises that are even more marvelous and more fantastic for you and for all my beloved Golden Ticket holders — mystic and marvelous surprises that will entrance, delight, intrigue, astonish, and perplex you beyond measure. In your wildest dreams you could not imagine that such things could happen to you! Just wait and see!
From Mr. Wonka's message on each Golden Ticket
The most famous chocolatier in the world, and a Reclusive Artist
ever since he was forced to temporarily close his factory due to espionage on the part of his rivals. The Impossibly Delicious Food
his factory churns out, combined with the mystery of how he makes it when no one is seen entering or leaving the factory, has made him a Living Legend
, and when he launches the Golden Ticket contest — five winners will receive a personal tour of the factory and a lifetime's supply of sweets — it becomes a global obsession. But all the tales that have sprung up around him and his factory pale next to the reality those winners are about to discover. Mr. Wonka spent his years in hiding turning his factory into The Wonderland
, an Elaborate Underground Base
of incredible beauty — some of it edible — that has technology as amazing as it is absurd; a world created in his own eccentric image. He is highly intelligent, imaginative, and fundamentally
good, but also a Trickster
who operates on a different
plane of reality than the rest of the world. Whimsical though he may be, he is someone to be taken seriously.
See also the character profile at the official Roald Dahl website
. Because Mr. Wonka is an Interpretative Character
to rival a certain Time Lord
, further details about his personality in each major adaptation are summarized below along with their respective tropes.
In the novels and across adaptations:
- Adaptational Attractiveness: He's much more conventionally handsome in the two films than he is in any illustrations of him, as a look at the gallery at his official profile will prove. (Also applies to The Golden Ticket; Daniel Okulitch had to be the second-youngest looking Wonka after Johnny Depp!)
- Adaptation Dye-Job: As written, Mr. Wonka's Awesome Anachronistic Apparel is wildly colorful and clashing to Rummage Sale Reject levels; he also has a black goatee and his hair is usually colored to match by illustrators (though Quentin Blake went with gray Einstein Hair; this is more obvious when one looks at videos of the Alton Towers theme park ride, which works from his designs). Starting with the 1971 film, adaptations often go with a more coordinated ensemble, let the actor use his natural hair color, and lose the facial hair. The 2013 stage musical averts this trope in favor of working from the original description; whether the actor playing him goes with facial hair or not is up in the air, though (see Good Hair, Evil Hair below).
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguous Disorder: He is brilliant but far beyond the norm of social behavior and thinking, and not even a hint is dropped as to why in the novel and most adaptations — the sole exception is the 2005 film. Even in-story others wonder what's up with him:
- Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: His outfit — top hat, tail coat, etc. — seems more appropriate to a Stage Magician or circus ringmaster than a chocolate factory owner. But then, he is no mere chocolate factory owner...
- Benevolent Boss: Zig-zagged with regards to the Oompa-Loompas. There's the controversial, much-debated Happiness in Slavery issue, as well as the fact that he uses them as test subjects for his creations. However, they are a lot better off working for him than they were in Loompaland, even having the space to set up their own little towns and villages within the factory, and Mr. Wonka does what he can to rescue them when tests go awry. In the sequel novel, it's revealed that rather than waiting for the de-aged Oompa-Loompas to return to this plane of existence in time, he not only created an aging counterpart to the Wonka-Vite pills but journeyed into the sinister underground world of Minusland to administer it (at great personal risk to himself), simply because he cares about them that much.
- Bold Explorer: Between the two books, it's clear that he's traveled extensively, even into fantastical places most people aren't even aware exist (i.e. Loompaland, Minusland), all in the service of his work. He even has extensive knowledge of the histories of other planets and alien races.
- Bowties Are Cool: He has a bowtie in the 1971 film and in both Michael Foreman and Quentin Blake's illustrations. (In the case of the Blake illustrations, it's an enormous bowtie to boot!)
- Brutal Honesty: While he does his best to reassure his panicking guests when the brats get into trouble that they're "bound to come out in the wash. They always do", he won't lie about what will and could happen to them either. Often, this honesty just makes matters worse, especially because he's so upfront about his Skewed Priorities.
- Callousness Towards Emergency: Zig-zagged. When the four brats disobey him, he has No Sympathy as they end up in danger, calmly watching and snarking from the sidelines even as everyone else panics. Then again he actually knows how they can be rescued and restored, talking about the solutions as if they were standard emergency procedures (since they do have accidents like those from time to time) and assigning the Oompa-Loompas to attend to the victims. Then again he outright leaves Veruca and her parents' fate up to chance (maybe that incinerator isn't lit today!). Then again he is testing them, so his concerns for their safety are probably nonexistent. Then again they are all Hate Sinks and the reader is meant to take great satisfaction in their Laser-Guided Karma punishments. This zig-zagging is one of the key reasons Mr. Wonka is an Interpretative Character highly subject to Alternative Character Interpretations.
- Cool Old Guy: Implied to actually be this in the novel and 2013 musical (see Older Than They Look below).
- Crazy-Prepared: In the sequel, his Great Glass Elevator is revealed to be not only capable of space travel but also "shockproof, waterproof, bombproof, bulletproof, and Knidproof". "Knidproof" refers to the Vermicious Knids, carnivorous aliens that cannot survive passing through Earth's atmosphere, yet not only does Mr. Wonka know all about them, he's prepared to fend off an attack should he ever encounter them! And remember that until the end of the first book, he only ever used the elevator to get around his factory!
- Creepy Good: On the one hand, he's a Large Ham Nightmare Fetishist Rummage Sale Reject and creator/master of a Crapsaccharine World / False Utopia that brings doom upon those who let their vices get the best of them. On the other, he's a Renaissance Man Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and those who prove worthy of that heart will be duly rewarded in time.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: While Mr. Wonka clearly doesn't have any problem with money, inventions like the Television-Chocolate setup and the Great Glass Elevator would probably make him even richer and change the world. Except he never bothers to find any applicability to them outside of candy. (Justified in the 2013 musical owing to his Doing It for the Art motivation.) From the 2005 film:
Mike Teavee: (Upon finding Wonka has a functional teleporter) Have you ever used it on people?
Mr. Wonka: Why would I want to transport people? They don't taste very good at all.
- Deadpan Snarker / Gentleman Snarker: He's prone to whimsical and sometimes stealthily insulting responses to the tour group's puzzled and/or rude remarks and questions. When Violet expresses disbelief that his storeroom of beans includes "has beans" he notes "You're one yourself!" Not long afterward, when he's explaining the purpose of Hair Toffee to the group, Veruca asks "Who wants a beard, for heaven's sake?" Mr. Wonka casually remarks "It would suit you very well..." Adaptations take his gift for snarking and run with it, with the 1971 and 2013 incarnations particularly gentlemanly.
- Determinator: Everyone thought he was a case of How the Mighty Have Fallen after he sacked his original workforce. It took him months, perhaps years, and at the very least travel to distant lands was involved, but — alone — he found a way and a workforce to get his factory up and running again. This also, for both good and ill, was behind his creation of both Wonka-Vite and Vita-Wonk in the sequel — it took 132 tries to perfect the former, and then he had to create the latter and journey to Minusland to rescue the Oompa-Loompas who vanished via the first 131 tries. And again, he did this without any help from outsiders.
- Deuteragonist: To Charlie Bucket's protagonist in all versions of Factory (the sequel makes Mr. Wonka the protagonist and Charlie his sidekick) but especially in the 2005 film and 2013 stage musical. In the former, the audience becomes privy to Mr. Wonka's Backstory via his Flashbacks, which slowly reveal how he became an Anti-Villain in the present and sets up the Not His Sled climax. In the latter, Charlie has much more in common with Mr. Wonka than is obvious at first glance.
- Dissonant Laughter: In the novel, he breaks into peals of this after Augustus goes up the pipes, much to Mrs. Gloop's horror and anger, as well as when his Cool Boat races down the pitch-dark tunnel and the Great Glass Elevator takes off sideways (causing the Teavees and Buckets, who weren't expecting that, to tumble to the floor — he was the only one who grabbed on to an overhead strap). This is dropped from most adaptations, but in the 2013 stage musical when the other characters scream and panic when Augustus tumbles into the chocolate waterfall, he's promptly doubled over with laughter — until he catches himself.
- Does Not Like Spam: He hates breakfast cereal; when Mike brings up the subject, he explains that "It's made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!"
- Eccentric Mentor: He needs to find a proper child to mentor, though, and his method of doing so crosses this trope with Trickster Mentor.
- Einstein Hair: Quentin Blake's illustrations give him gray, messy locks that seem to stick straight out, though his Nice Hat obscures them to an extent.
- Explorer Outfit: In the original Joseph Schindelman illustrations, he wears this in the Oompa-Loompa village. Also turns up in the corresponding flashback in the 2005 film.
- Fiction 500: He owns the world's largest chocolate factory — so big it has an entire subterranean river system made from liquid chocolate — and develops things like teleportation just to boost his advertising revenues. At one time he had a huge human workforce that he spontaneously sacked in its entirety due to industrial espionage issues (severance pay, anyone?); he then imported an entire unknown nation of people IN SECRET just to staff his factory, and had enough cash stockpiled to allow him to do this while the factory was closed and he was receiving no income. Better yet, he pays the Oompa-Loompa wages not in money but in leftover cacao beans, so every penny spent on a Wonka Bar goes straight to him! While Mr. Wonka tends to laugh a lot, he laughs really hard in the sequel when Charlie's family is concerned about money, telling them he "has plenty of that!"
- Fun Personified: There are few situations that he can't lighten up with some humor. This is part of what makes him so unnerving to others, given the chaos that seems to swirl around his world. In the sequel, when he and the Buckets are in a space hotel, suspected of being spies, and asked via radio by the President of the United States to identify themselves, he takes advantage of the lack of a video feed to pretend to be an alien. He trolls the Earth for, apparently, nothing more than his own amusement.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Considering he designed/built not only the Factory itself but such wonders as the Television Chocolate setup and the Great Glass Elevator, one suspects his skills go a bit beyond chocolate. And he has an army of Oompa-Loompas — some of which may have helped with or come up with the designs themselves.
- Gentleman and a Scholar: He does love to boast about/show off his many wonders and brush off questions, but that generally stems from happiness and excitement rather than the superior manner of an Insufferable Genius. He is whimsical and tricky yet well-spoken and authoritative. He has quite a few traits of the Gentleman Wizard, in fact — he just doesn't have actual magical powers.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: A good goatee in the novel; some illustrators have given him a dainty mustache as well. In the 2013 musical, Douglas Hodge's Wonka has a chin tuft and a neatly-shaped, slender mustache; overall, this gives an intimidating twist to his look. Most adaptations have him clean-shaven though, and Alex Jennings, who took over from Hodge in the musical, followed suit — though he did have the facial hair when he first performed as the character at the 2014 Olivier Awards, and all understudies follow Hodge's precedent.
- Gut Feeling: Type 1: He admits, in the end, that he suspected from the start that Charlie would prove to be the heir he was seeking.
- The Hermit: He was this for a time in the backstory, after he closed his factory — he completely broke off contact with other people and vanished from the public eye. Eventually he discovered the Oompa-Loompas and hired them as a new workforce, though he remains an in-universe Reclusive Artist.
- Hypocrite / Straw Hypocrite: He considers chewing gum "really gross" and detestable, yet seemingly sees no wrong in making profit from selling it — he explicitly states his desire to get that flawed gum right so he can sell it. He also disdains fat children yet sees no wrong in selling chocolate and candy in general, even though sweets are a key cause of childhood obesity.
- Iconic Item: His walking stick, though not as iconic as the top hat, turns up in all adaptations. Its design varies from version to version.
- Iconic Outfit: His Nice Hat (see below) — approaches to his actual suit vary from version to version, but he always has a hat and it is always a top hat, usually a black one.
- Impossible Genius: Though he'd scoff at the term, as he believes "Nothing is impossible!" A television-based teleporter? An elevator/functioning spacecraft that he claims runs on "candy power" and/or "skyhooks"? Ice creams that never melt or are hot? Candy apple trees that can be planted? "Magic Hand-Fudge — When You Hold It In Your Hand, You Taste It In Your Mouth"? Truly this is a man who has harnessed nonsensoleum to incredible ends.
- Inexplicably Awesome / Mysterious Past: He has no family, no stated place of origin. Even his age is uncertain (he looks middle-aged but...). Where did he come from? How did he become who he is and embark upon such amazing successes and travels? How did his priorities become so skewed that they approach Blue and Orange Morality? Only the 2005 film outright attempts to answer these questions. The 2013 stage musical says only this much:
Despite the man seen at these doors
My childhood home was bland like yours
But I knew how to look to find
A world that wasn't color-blind
- Interpretative Character: The enigma that is a Mad Scientist of candymaking with a unique way of thinking, seriously Skewed Priorities, especially with regard to the fates of those who don't heed him, and Trickster tendencies — not to mention the eternal question of whether he intends to get the kids into trouble by dangling dangerous temptations before them (as it's likely he knows their flaws/weaknesses, given the contest press coverage) — allows for a wide range of interpretations, as seen below.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he's cheerful and pleasant, he has his moments of Jerk Assishness, particularly when members of the tour group pester him with questions...or get themselves into trouble.
- Large and In Charge: While he isn't suggested to be particularly tall/physically imposing in most illustrations and adaptations, he's a justified example of this trope in that he towers over his entire workforce, which is a race of Little People!
- Large Ham: Mr. Wonka's mysterious, fantastical nature and boundless energy means that actors portraying him have to be large hams by default. Gene Wilder's What the Hell, Hero? rant in the climax of the 1971 version has become a Memetic Mutation, but he gets plenty of other scenery-chewing moments. Johnny Depp not only chews the scenery in the 2005 film, he gulps it down with vodka and asks for seconds. The 2010 opera has the character written as a Badass Baritone. Douglas Hodge's portrayal is a more Hot-Blooded take; even when he's in a calm and reflective mood, he's positively thrumming with energy and zest for life and its possibilities.
- Literal-Minded: Sometimes, with regards to how his sweets are made — the whipped cream his factory produces is whipped with actual whips.
- Living Legend: He's the greatest and most famous candymaker in the world, and his legend only grows after he becomes a recluse yet manages to get his factory up and running again even as no one ever enters or exits it...
- Mad Scientist: Yes, this trope can be applied to confectionery! This doesn't even get into such wonders as the Great Glass Elevator and (in the sequel) the de-aging and aging formulas.
- Man Child: Downplayed. He is mature enough to be one of the world's great businessmen and inventors, but he still has a child's creativity, enthusiasm, wonder, impatience, and — to a lesser extent — innocence, rather Ambiguous Innocence at that. (The voice Douglas Hodge gave him in the 2013 musical is a deliberate reflection of this: A rich adult tenor afflicted by the tipsy, quirky inflections and pitch shifts of a child's voice "breaking" upon hitting puberty.)
- Mr. Exposition: In the first book, he explains the Backstory of the Oompa-Loompas; in the second book, he explains the same for the Vermicious Knids. Later, he has to deliver lengthy explanations of how he created both Wonka-Vite and Vita-Wonk.
- Nice Hat: Wears a top hat in the novel and all adaptations. Canonically it's black and most adaptations follow suit, but he has a caramel topper in the 1971 film. (There's no way that can't sound like a euphemism.) That version also has the following dialogue:
Veruca: Who says I can't?
Mr. Salt: The man in the funny hat...
- Nightmare Fetishist / Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The fact that he's usually calm and collected, and even amused, while witnessing at the awful fates that befall the brats bespeaks these tropes! See also the boat tunnel in the 1971 version and his tendency to gleefully join in on the Oompa-Loompa songs in the 2013 musical.
- No Sympathy: The tour group learns the hard way that he hasn't much sympathy for those who ignore his warnings and get themselves into trouble (after all, he did warn them). His Skewed Priorities don't help. This trait is particularly pronounced in the 2013 musical.
- Older Than They Look: In the novel, he has been a recluse for ten years when the story begins, and looks middle-aged when he emerges for the tour. But at the end he tells Charlie that he actually fits this trope: "I'm an old man. I'm much older than you think." Other versions take different tacks on his age:
- In the 2005 film, based on the flashbacks he's somewhere around his 40s, but can still qualify to be around 30 or even still in his late 20s — partially due to Johnny Depp appearing to be that age.
- In the 2013 musical, he has been a recluse for over 40 years; according to Charlie's grandparents, he was producing sweets when Mahatma Gandhi was alive. He still looks middle-aged (role originator Douglas Hodge was 53 when the show opened), but when he tells Charlie "I'm a lot older than you think" there's no denying that this Trickster is being honest. His Obfuscating Disability trick when he first appears even plays on this, as he claims "I'm afraid that I might fall/For my eyes and knees/Have grown frail behind this wall".
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Especially when one takes the sequel into account, his work suggests he is an expert in at least three fields — chemistry, engineering, and astrophysics. Of course, he's apparently stumbled into some of this just by throwing things together and seeing what works; the discovery of the substance that he perfected into the fountain-of-youth pill Wonka-Vite was pretty much accidental.
- Outside-Context Villain: He's this to the Vermicious Knids (themselves outside context villains to most of humanity) in the sequel. When they take over the space hotel, they have no idea that one of the visitors knows what they are and what they're vulnerable to, and even has a vehicle that's Knidproof!
- Parental Substitute: The 1971 film implies that he'll become a father figure to Charlie (whose father suffered Death by Adaptation before the story begins). In the opera The Golden Ticket, the situation is much clearer: Both of Charlie's parents have been Adapted Out, and after Mike Teavee is shrunk, Grandpa Joe volunteers to stay behind and comfort Mrs. Teavee while Veruca and Charlie head to the next room. Veruca has her father with her, but now all Charlie has serving as a "guardian" figure is Mr. Wonka himself...
- Pet the Dog: In the novel, 2005 film, and 2010 opera, during the boat ride he scoops two mugfuls of melted chocolate from the river for Charlie and Grandpa Joe to enjoy, having noticed how thin and bony they look. (In the 2010 opera, this is on top of the heavy implication that Mr. Wonka is also the sweetshop owner and thus is responsible for Charlie finding a Golden Ticket in the first place.) Interestingly, both the 1971 and 2013 adaptations leave this bit out, which means Mr. Wonka doesn't get a "definitely a nice guy" moment and his Trickster nature becomes more pronounced. Only at the end of both, once Charlie proves he's earned the grand prize, does he fully let his inner kindness show.
- Pungeon Master: Many of the things his factory produces involve punny wordplay ("butterscotch and soda", "has beans", etc.). In the 1971 film he tosses a shoe into a cauldron of something-or-other because it "Gives it a little kick." In the 2013 musical, he has such lyrics as (from "Simply Second Nature") "And me, I take sweet honey/And make a tasteful rose".
- Purple Is Powerful: He wears "a tail coat made of a beautiful plum-colored velvet". Given all these surrounding tropes, he certainly fits this trope's need for a purple-wearer to be powerful and cool.
- Reclusive Artist: In-universe. The 2013 musical plays up the artist part.
- Reed Richards Is Useless: He can make a meal come out of gum, an ice cream that stays cold and doesn't melt in the sun, build a chocolate palace without a metal framework, can teleport things into TV screens, and has anti-gravity technology - yet he only applies his know-how to candy. This is lampshaded by Mike Teavee in the 2005 film. Then again, considering what happens to Mike, can anyone blame Mr. Wonka for having no desire to apply his teleporting technology to people?
- Renaissance Man: He's a Supreme Chef, a fabulously wealthy businessman, an architect, a Bold Explorer, a Gadgeteer Genius, a Mad Scientist / Omnidisciplinary Scientist, fluent in at least two languages (English and Oompa-Loompish), incredibly eloquent, and able to recite/create poetry on the fly!
- Rounded Character: He's the only character in the novels that qualifies as this, and adaptations tend to further expand on his complex personality.
- Rummage Sale Reject: Even back in 1964 when it was written, Mr. Wonka's outfit was Awesome Anachronistic Apparel — but then there's the colors. Plum tail coat, bottle-green trousers, pearly gray gloves, black top hat, etc. See Adaptation Dye-Job above for more on this. This does not keep him from being a...
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Eccentric though his outfit looks, it is beautifully tailored and he is extremely well-groomed.
- Science Hero: A good-kind-of-crazy Mad Scientist hero, to be specific, one who uses his abilities in the service of making and marketing the best candies in the world. As the sequel proves, though, he can turn his talents to more urgent needs as well — i.e., saving humans from shapeshifting aliens or figuring out how to re-age people into this plane of existence.
- Skewed Priorities: Related to his Callousness Towards Emergency, he definitely cares more about the production and the quality of confectionery than the safety of people. He assures Mrs. Gloop that her son won't be turned into fudge "Because the taste would be terrible"! (In the 1971 version, as he watches Augustus drown in his chocolate river: "My chocolate! My beautiful chocolate!") Also, he seems to be more concerned with attractive aesthetics ("I insist upon my rooms being beautiful!") and the Rule of Cool than practical issues in designing his factory, resulting in the whole place falling under No OSHA Compliance.
- Staff of Authority: Bespeaking his Living Legend, Fiction 500, and Older Than They Look status, he always carries "a fine gold-topped walking cane" — though he seems much too sprightly to need it. Like the Nice Hat, it's a vital part of his ensemble in all adaptations, though the design varies from version to version.
- Supreme Chef: On a grand scale, having invented all of the confections his factory produces.
- Terms of Endangerment: He tends to address the Golden Ticket tour group members as "My dear [blank]". He may not be a villain, but he is a Trickster, and he uses such sweet talk to "politely" discourage others from questioning him, defuse the parents' anger at him when their bratty children are horrifically imperiled, and generally mask his true feelings about his mostly-nasty charges.
- Trickster Mentor: The whole point of the Golden Ticket contest and tour is to find a child whom he can train as a successor. The 1971 and 2013 incarnations, in particular, love speaking in riddles and Koans and confusing the tour group.
- Villain with Good Publicity / Hero with Bad Publicity: Depending on the Alternative Character Interpretation from version to version.
- Waistcoat of Style: Usually has one in illustrations, as well as in the 1971 film and 2013 musical.
- Windows of the Soul: The book's introductory description of Mr. Wonka's appearance gives special attention to his blue eyes, noting them as "most marvelously bright. They seemed to be sparkling and twinkling at you all the time. The whole face, in fact, was alight with fun and laughter." In hindsight, this is a clear sign of his merry, mischevious Trickster nature.
- The Wonka: Trope Namer: An eccentric and successful business owner.
In the 1971 film:
Mr. Salt: What is this, Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Mr. Wonka: (seemingly surprised) Why, having fun?
This Wonka is gracious, friendly, pleasant, exceptionally
well-read — and simply cannot be trusted
. Unfortunately, by the time that last point is figured out by his guests, they have no choice but to keep following his lead no matter how wild and woolly things become. Moreover, virtually nothing gets past him, which becomes a problem for Charlie in the late going...
- Beneath the Mask: Initially he comes off as just a quirky sweetness-and-light guy, but he turns out to have a darker side and, late in the game, a dangerous temper. See Surprise Creepy below.
- Bilingual Bonus: His random bursts of French and German.
- Casual Danger Dialog: He's like this throughout the movie, reaching his high point when Mike decides to jump into the TV teleporter; Mr. Wonka, having given warnings to the other kids before the factory claims them, attempts to warn Mike in a tone somewhere between exhausted and bored. You can tell the guy's done caring by this point.
- The Charmer: He's a non-sexualized example. He is so charming and pleasant, particularly towards the children, that even as his darker, snarkier side begins to show his guests still follow his lead and get caught up in the middle of wacky (i.e. "Just through the other door, please.") and/or creepy hijinks. This is most obvious with the boat ride ("You're going to love this...just love it.") and goes hand in hand with his being a Consummate Liar.
- Chewing the Scenery: He does this during the boat ride and when delivering his What the Hell, Hero? speech.
- Comical Overreacting: His reaction to the sight of Augustus drinking from the river quickly escalates into this and gets worse when he falls in! The thing is, all along he's more concerned with his chocolate being contaminated than the kid's welfare; he quickly calms down as the boy is sucked up the pipe. This presages his much more seriously-played Chewing the Scenery later on.
- Consummate Liar: Gene Wilder's guiding principle in playing Mr. Wonka was the conceit that neither the audience nor characters would be able to tell whether he's lying or not at any given moment, and this is why his Establishing Character Moment is what it is.
- Cool Key: It's a flute key!
- Dissonant Serenity: He tends to slip into an absurdly calm-and-collected state when the bratty kids are getting themselves into trouble, though in the case of Augustus his reactions alternate between this and Comical Overreacting. Even Mr. Beauregarde threatening him over Violet's transformation doesn't faze him.
- Establishing Character Moment: See Obfuscating Disability below.
- Face Palm: Does this during Veruca's "I Want" Song, as he watches her smash up the golden egg room.
- "I Am" Song: "Pure Imagination", which has some of the best I Am Choreography one could want.
- Iconic Outfit: His ensemble — purple coat, white shirt, floral Waistcoat of Style, bowtie, brown trousers and matching top hat — is the go-to image for pop culture depictions of the character to this day, superseding the more garish/mismatched suit of the novel.
- Insane Troll Logic: His explanation for the Road Trip Across The Street in the Wonkamobile rather than just walking to the next room? "If the Good Lord had intended us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates."
- Lost in Imitation: Most examples of Charlie and the Chocolate Parody take off from this movie and thus Wilder's interpretation of the character. Wilder also set the precedent for Mr. Wonka being depicted as clean-shaven in almost all subsequent adaptations, and his costume has become an Iconic Outfit.
- Magical Flutist: He plays a twittering tune on his flute key to summon Oompa-Loompas when he needs to give them instructions.
- Non Sequitur: Most of his strange comments and quotes kind of follow on from other people's questions, but his response to Veruca asking what a snozzberry is — "We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams", a quote from a poem by William Edgar O'Shaughnessy — is this.
- Obfuscating Disability: He walks out limping with a cane, then sets the cane aside and does a somersault.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: At least some of his quirky behavior is this, to prevent others from forming outside attachments to him (as the Slugworth subplot proves).
- Parental Bonus: Mr. Wonka isn't a case of Speaks in Shout-Outs, but he loves to pepper his dialogue with literary quotes or the odd snatch of song, all of which qualify as this.
- Pass the Popcorn: His reaction to the sight of Augustus Gloop getting stuck in the pipe (he's nibbling some sweets).
- Quirky Curls: Due to Gene Wilder's actual hair being tightly-curled and frizzy, Mr. Wonka gets these as a side-effect of the Adaptation Dye-Job.
- Rant Inducing Slight: Grandpa Joe pressing him about why Charlie was disqualified from the lifetime supply of chocolate triggers his What the Hell, Hero? speech.
- Songs in the Key of Lock: Besides his flute key, the door to his main chocolate room opens to a tune by Mozart.
- Surprise Creepy: Of all incarnations, this Wonka initially comes off as the calmest, least hammy, and most "normal" of the lot. As the tour begins and progresses through the Chocolate Room, however, it becomes apparent that he has a dark streak going, and the boat ride reveals just what a Large Ham and Nightmare Fetishist he actually is.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Mr. Wonka lets poor Charlie have it when he reveals that he knew about him taking the Fizzy-Lifting Drinks. Grandpa Joe tries one of these on him in response, but it doesn't work.
In the 2005 film:
Everything in this room is eatable. Even I am eatable, but that is called cannibalism, my dear children, and is in fact frowned on in most societies.
This youthful-looking fellow is at least as brilliant as any of his other incarnations when it comes to sweetmaking, but unlike them is completely lacking in social skills and graces to the point that even the Golden Ticket finders come off as more mature than he. His arrested development stems from a heartbreaking experience in his past that he has never quite been able to put behind him — and is coloring what he wants from a successor in the present.
- Adaptational Angst Upgrade: His Daddy Issues.
- Adaptational Villainy: Due to both Character Exaggeration and a Not His Sled twist (see below), Wonka is less likable/charming and generous than in other versions. Luckily, he gets better by the end of the film.
- Adaptation Expansion: Mr. Wonka's backstory and his dentist father who hated chocolate. This expansion is for much the the same purpose as the Slugworth subplot in the '71 version, an effort to give the story a more complex ending.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Of the major adaptations, this Wonka is the furthest from his book counterpart, going from a charming, confident Trickster Gentleman and a Scholar to an Insufferable Genius with No Social Skills.
- Anti-Villain: In order to achieve his goal of finding a proper heir, this Wonka believes he must tear a loving family apart, sending him into this territory. Again, he does come around.
- Badass Longcoat: He is almost always seen wearing a black or red trenchcoat.
- Bad Bad Acting: In an attempt to get around his social awkwardness, some of his tour spiel is on index cards. When he reads from them — the first time he does this is as he's introducing himself — he falls into this trope's "stilted and monotone" flavor.
- Big Entrance: He's supposed to make this at the end of the puppet show, but he wanted to watch it instead of be in it, so he quietly joins the Golden Ticket group while it's in progress. They don't notice him until it's over and they realize that someone's applauding.
- Blatant Lies: He denies that the Oompa-Loompas' songs about the mishaps happening to the children were prepared in advance, even though they clearly were.
- Blind Shoulder Toss: Does this with Mr. Salt's business card as soon as it's given to him.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: As a child.
- Character Exaggeration: Not only does Depp exaggerate the oddness and enthusiasm of the original, he also picks up on the not-quite-hidden apathy for the other children and turns it into outright dislike. He's also much more obvious in his Magnificent Bastardry, like not opening the gate in the nut sorting room: if you watch closely, he finds the right key before Veruca goes down the chute, but the gate doesn't open until she's already gone.
- Conspicuous Gloves: Downplayed. While Mr. Wonka wears gloves in the novel, that's in service to his outdated Rummage Sale Reject look. The pale purple gloves the 2005 Wonka wears seem just a bit...off by comparison. It turns out that the gloves and his tunic-esque shirt are similar to those of Dr. Wilbur Wonka's dentist scrubs. Willy's fashion sense is, unconciously, partially inspired by his father.
- Daddy Issues: These are inserted wholesale into Mr. Wonka's character and are part of what leads to his coming off as a psychotic man-child of a sort.
- Dark and Troubled Past: See Freudian Excuse.
- Deconstruction: While the novels and most adaptations regard Mr. Wonka as Creepy Good and present him as Inexplicably Awesome, director Tim Burton and screenwriter John August present his eccentric nature as resulting in extreme social awkwardness and couch it as the result of his estrangement from his father. In order to reach a happy ending, he must stop being a freakish loner.
- Dissonant Serenity: Even more so than his 1971 counterpart. This Wonka keeps on smiling even as the kids are going through horrifying things right in front of him, with the sole exception of the scene where he runs for cover as Violet turns into a blueberry.
- Emotionally Tongue Tied / Gagging on Your Words: He has a hard time saying the word "parents" — he can't get past the P-sound without looking as if he's about to vomit.
- Excited Kids' Show Host: By Johnny Depp's design, this Wonka's surface mannerisms owe a lot to this trope...and he's always "on".
- First Gray Hair: Currently provides the page quote for this trope. Willy Wonka reveals to Charlie that this made him realize he was getting old and needed to find an heir.
- Flashback / Flashback Stares: Lampshaded!
Mr. Wonka: (in a dazed way) I'm sorry, I was having a flashback.
Mike Teavee's Dad: (disturbed) These flashbacks happen often?
Mr. Wonka: Increasingly... today.
- Freudian Excuse: Okay, he's not evil, but his behavior is partially due to his harsh childhood.
- "I Am Great!" Song: The puppet show song that the tour group views outside the factory entrance is specifically about how awesome he is. Tellingly, he's supposed to be revealed at the end of the performance, but instead turns out to be watching it with the others! (While the song is known as "Wonka's Welcome Song", it doesn't really count as a Welcoming Song as it's all about him.)
- Insufferable Genius: Rather than the whimsical Gentleman and a Scholar / Gentleman Snarker of the novel and other adaptations, this Wonka is a socially-awkward braggart — he's still brilliant, but childishly so.
- I Take Offense to That Last One: As Charlie is shining Mr. Wonka's shoes after refusing to move to the factory:
Charlie: I met him. I thought he was great at first. Then he didn't turn out that nice. And he has a funny haircut.
Mr. Wonka: (throws down the newspaper he's reading) I do not!
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In this version, this trope doesn't fully surface until the climax.
- Keet: Johnny Depp makes — by far — the cutest, youngest-looking, and most effeminate Willy Wonka, and the more excited he is the cuter he gets.
- Licking the Blade: Defending himself from one of Loompaland's vicious, giant insects, he manages to cut it in two with a machete. Noting the goo that leaves on the blade, he licks it off, because one never knows when one might find an ideal new ingredient (seeking such was what brought him to Loompaland to begin with).
- Lonely at the Top: He doesn't realize it initially, but his decision to defy his father to follow his dreams, and to a lesser extent his subsequent decision to shut himself away from the rest of the world (with only his Oompa-Loompa workforce to interact with) to protect his recipes, has left him emotionally stunted and inwardly unsatisfied despite his huge success. It's only when he reconciles with his father and accepts the Bucket family into his life that he can start on the path to being well-adjusted. This is related to...
- Loners Are Freaks: This is the only adaptation to date that regards Willy Wonka in these terms. In other versions, he is certainly isolated and separate from "regular" people, largely by choice and partially owing to his eccentricity, but it's not presented as a bad thing.
- Man Child: This trope is exaggerated compared to other versions of the character. One of the many ingredients Depp named for his Wonka was a "bratty child". He's a stubborn, moody, frighteningly careless, easily delighted, self-absorbed braggart, who argues with the rotten kids just below their level, doesn't seem to understand adult behavior, and harbors some very silly ideas about science and geography. The good news is that he presumably ends up best friends with Charlie, who becomes a sort of spiritual mentor to him.
- Missing Mom: We never see his mother — just his father — and no explanation for this is given.
- No Social Skills: Though he does have a very good Freudian Excuse.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, who clearly doesn't have his father Wilbur's British accent. Granted, Mrs Wonka never appears and she could have been American, but Willy does have a British accent as a child!
- Not His Sled: Mr. Wonka initially refuses to allow Charlie to take his family to the factory to live with him, contrasting with the endings of all other versions.
- Obliviously Evil: He honestly doesn't understand why Charlie isn't willing to leave his family so he can inherit the factory.
- Perpetual Smiler: He always seems to be cheery and perky, but this is hinted to be a front to cope with his daddy issues.
- Rags to Riches: Mr. Wonka's backstory is this, as he ran away from his father and apparently raised himself by bootstraps into his position as chocolate king.
- Reading the Stage Directions Out Loud: Falls into this once with the aforementioned index cards: "I shake you warmly by the hand!"
- The Runaway: See Rags to Riches above.
- Self-Made Man: Unlike in the book, here it is clear that he got no help whatsoever from his own family.
- Smug Snake: While Depp's Wonka has his Magnificent Bastard side to him, he's played more like this with his fake smiles and mannerisms. He has his own introductory song (sung by puppets) about what a great and brilliant guy he is, and is so certain that Charlie will abandon his own family to own the factory that he falls into depression when Charlie refuses, being unable to comprehend the family's importance to him.
- Socially-Awkward Hero: Although this Wonka has No Social Skills, he is no less fearless about travelling into Hungry Jungles, flying about in a glass elevator, etc. than his counterparts in other versions. On top of that, he's been on his own since his father abandoned him — and he was a kid at the time.
- Stepford Smiler: He is a Type A (inwardly depressed) example, the result of trying way too hard to put his past behind him.
- Tastes Like Friendship: In the Oompa-Loompa village, he sampled a bowl of mashed caterpillars during his meeting with the Oompa-Loompa chief.
- Totally Radical: How he tends to speak to children, with slang and references that wander from The Fifties to The Seventies. It's a side effect of his isolation and Played for Laughs.
- Trauma Button: Charlie's innocent questions about Mr. Wonka's youth (and later his "Candy doesn't have to have a point" comment) unknowingly trigger his flashbacks to his ill-fated relationship with his father, causing him to space out in the present.
- Unreliable Expositor: He attempts to pass off the Oompa-Loompas' songs as skilled improvisation when the others have reason to suspect that they (and by extension he) know more about the bratty kids and their fates than they're letting on.
- Watch Out for That Tree!: Mr. Wonka and glass doors. (thud!)
In the 2010 opera:
Yes, it's me!
I, Willy Wonka, the great and magnificent!
I, the sorcerer! I, the scientist!
I, the magician!
I, the weaver of chocolate spells!
I, the creator of sugary secrets!
I, the mysterious! I, the unknown!
I, Willy Wonka, greet you all!
A grandiose, commanding figure with a Badass Baritone
, he is noticeably less wacky and snarky than his counterparts, his eccentric appearance notwithstanding. He is also leading a double life as the owner of a sweetshop that Charlie sometimes visits...
- Adaptational Heroism / Composite Character: This Wonka is crossed over with the book's sweetshop owner. As "Mr. Know", he runs a small chocolate shop built into the factory's outer wall, and after getting to know Charlie better in the "Chocolate Geniuses" sequence midway through Act One, sells him the Wonka Bar with the last of the Golden Tickets in it. It's telling that the show doesn't have a reveal regarding this, instead letting the audience figure things out on their own. Daniel Okulitch didn't even affect different voices for them. Charlie, for his part, never figures out what's going on.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Blonde.
- Anonymous Benefactor: To Charlie Bucket.
- Badass Baritone: He's written as a bass-baritone, never mind that the novel says "His voice was high and flutey." Other musicalizations have him as a tenor.
- Badass Boast: See the lines quoted above — they follow directly on from his Big Entrance.
- Badass Longcoat: He wears a purple one for his Big Entrance at the end of Act One. His primary costume is a white plaid three-piece suit, which deliberately echoes Charlie's grey plaid winter jacket.
- Big Entrance: Arrives to greet his guests via a hot-air balloon that soars up and over the factory wall.
- Cool Key: He bequeaths an ornate key to Charlie upon declaring him his successor, which apparently works for the whole factory.
- Flowery Insults: This Wonka is more direct with his insults to the naughty kids when the chips are down for them, noting that Violet has "gone too far./She's grown too big./She's like a bloated, purple pig."
- Grumpy Old Man: Downplayed with his disguise/persona as Mr. Know, who doesn't much care for answering questions and suggests to Charlie (when he's despairing over not finding a Golden Ticket) that Mr. Wonka is "a silly and strange old man!" but is otherwise a nice guy.
- King Incognito: Apparently just running the world's largest chocolate factory wasn't enough to keep him busy...
- Mr. Exposition: Played with: As Mr. Know, he doesn't answer Charlie's questions about the factory or why Mr. Wonka's launched the contest, but the discussion itself is still enough to get the audience up to speed on what's going on as this adaptation begins In Medias Res.
- Sarcasm Mode: As Mike chases the bubbles in the Bubblevision room: "Ah, three good little children. The others were bad. But I'm sure you won't disappoint me."
- Sdrawkcab Alias: The shop window claims its proprietor's name is "A. Know" — a reversal of Wonka.
- Two Aliases, One Character
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Fits the first two parts of the trope in that he wears a messy gray wig and thick glasses as Mr. Know. He doesn't disguise his voice, though.
In the 2013 musical:
Let's hope that you're a bit like me Sugar and ice, as opposed to spice..
As you walk through my factory
For in the end there's quite a prize
If you can see with more than eyes...
.that's what the most intimidating Wonka to date is made of. Beneath mannerisms, style, wit, and lack of sympathy
worthy of a Large Ham Disney Animated Canon
villain, there lies the soul of a sensitive, if mad, artist
. But in a world where even children seem to toss away their potential for creation in favor of consumption as soon as they're able, is there a kindred spirit that can melt the ice around his heart?
Peter Ostrum (1971 film)
Freddie Highmore (2005 film)
Benjamin P. Wenzelburg (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Jack Costello (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
A boy who lives with his poor but loving family in a shack on the edge of the town that Mr. Wonka's factory is located in. He craves chocolate more than anything else in the world but their straits are so dire that it's only a once-a-year birthday treat for him. Despite his lot in life, he is a good, self-sacrificing soul, and perhaps that's how the Million-to-One Chance
of his finding the last of the Golden Tickets comes about...
In the novels and across adaptations:
- Adaptational Heroism: In the Licensed Games based on the 2005 film, Charlie helps undo the brats' various fates.
- Adorably Precocious Child: Shades into this in the film adaptations; he does what he can to support the family in both versions, and is a near-Purity Sue with his manners and generosity in '05.
- Advertised Extra / Useless Protagonist: In the novel, once Charlie arrives at the factory, he does nothing and, therefore, wins the factory. Granted, he spends the first third of the book starving to death while being a really good kid. By the time he gets to the factory, he's got nothing to prove to the readers. But with this trope in mind, adaptations usually tweak the story to give him more to do: He succumbs to a temptation and must make up for it in the 1971 film, reconciles Mr. Wonka with his father in the 2005 film, and is a budding inventor in the 2013 version.
- Audience Surrogate: The events are presented primarily through his eyes, though it is written in the third person. (This also applies to most of the sequel, aside from the scenes with a different set of characters in the White House, though at one point the narration lets the reader in on Mr. Wonka's thoughts.)
- Friendless Background: It's easy to miss in the novel or any adaptation, but Charlie has no friends to speak of...just his family. He goes to school with other kids — is he shunned because he's poor? Is he too busy trying to help his family out (as in the 1971, 2005, and 2013 versions) to spend time making them?
- Grade School CEO: In the 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, the 2010 opera, and the 2013 musical, Charlie immediately becomes the new owner of the Wonka Factory once he passes the Secret Test, whereas in the novel and other versions he will not assume that role until he comes of age.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In the 1971 film and Quentin Blake's illustrations, Charlie is blonde. He is the only kid who isn't spoiled, mean, greedy, stupid, or otherwise unworthy of Willy Wonka's favor, apart from succumbing to temptation once in the 1971 film, and he acknowledges that what he did was wrong and apologises for it.
- The Hero / Kid Hero: Albeit one who doesn't affect the plot much; his defining trait is his virtuousness, which allows him to avoid temptation in the novel. As noted above, adaptations tend to make him a little more proactive.
- Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In the novel, 2005 film, and 2010 opera, he is distinguished from the four brats by his ability to resist temptation. Other versions present him as fundamentally good, but not to the extent of this trope.
- Kid Sidekick / Tagalong Kid: In the sequel, he becomes this to Willy Wonka.
- Nice Guy: All versions, but the 1971 film and 2013 musical incarnations deserve special mention in part because he is not a case of Incorruptible Pure Pureness in either.
- In the 1971 film, he's certainly not as cruel as some of the other children, and actually tries to help Augustus when he falls into the river. But he actively desires more out of life, and is not above temptation, hence the Fizzy Lifting Drinks misadventure. Proving he's a good kid by not giving Slugworth the gobstopper is what earns him the factory.
- In the 2013 musical, he's as puzzled by Willy Wonka as the rest of the tour group is, but unlike the brats (who see Mr. Wonka as a means to an end, nothing more) and even some of the adults is unfailingly polite and respectful towards him anyway, because that's just the kind of kid he is.
- Pinball Protagonist: He's largely just along for the ride after the opening stretch.
- Rags to Riches: Getting the factory!
- Sweet Tooth: Not that he gets many opportunities to indulge it (see Trademark Favorite Food below).
- Token Good Teammate: Of the five kids.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate. Alas, it is a Mundane Luxury to him (he only gets one bar a year, on his birthday), which makes it painful for him to live so close to Mr. Wonka's mysterious factory.
- The Watson: In the sequel, he's this and a Kid Sidekick / Tagalong Kid rather than a Pinball Protagonist; Mr. Wonka himself becomes the protagonist.
In the 1971 film:
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The (literally) poor kid is faced both with the temptation to try the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, which he succumbs to with nearly-fatal results, and the greater temptation to give Mr. Slugworth the Everlasting Gobstopper, which would net him even greater prizes than the lifetime supply of chocolate. And when he gives in to the former, he learns that the original prize is forfeited! But he still can't bring himself to betray Mr. Wonka, and in the process wins the greatest prize of all.
- Heroic BSOD: He has one when Mr. Wonka tells him he won't get the lifetime supply of chocolate. It doesn't last long, thankfully.
- Heroic Bystander: He tries to be one by holding out a giant lollipop for the drowning Augustus to grab on to, but the latter is sucked into the pipes before he can do so.
- Karma Houdini: While they are almost killed in the Fizzy Lifting Drink misadventure, he and Grandpa Joe initially seem to get away with drinking it in the first place, without any lasting consequences. But it's subverted: Mr. Wonka knew about it the whole time and is not happy. This is enough for Charlie to realize that he did something wrong and lost just as much as the other kids. Giving the Everlasting Gobstopper back to Mr. Wonka is his way of acknowledging his mistake and apologizing for it.
- Mr. Vice Guy: He is prey to temptation, and along with Grandpa Joe samples the Fizzy Lifting Drinks.
- He also wants a lot more than what life has thrown at him.
- One-Book Author: Peter Ostrum never acted again afterward — he's now a veterinarian.
In the 2010 opera:
- Constantly Curious: In the opening scene, Mr. Know winds up having to ask "Charlie, why do you ask so many questions?"
- Grass Is Greener / I Just Want to Be Special: Charlie is at least resigned to his circumstances in the novel and most adaptations and even finds happiness in his existence, thanks primarily to his loving family. But here, even more than in the 1971 film, he's really unhappy and openly wants more out of life. In the "Dreams and Ambitions" sequence, which is effectively his "I Want" Song, he sings about how much he wants to "escape, far away,/into dreams?/And to roam strange fantastical worlds far from home". Luckily, when he gets his chance it works out well for him.
- Parental Abandonment: Owing to his parents being Adapted Out; no explanation is given for what happened to them, so it's easy to assume they died. Also counts as:
In the 2013 musical:
- Ascended Fanboy: He wants to find a Golden Ticket not just because (like everyone else) he loves Mr. Wonka's sweets and wants to see just how they're made, but because he's absolutely in awe of the man's amazing accomplishments to the point that he's inspired to brainstorm ideas for sweet inventions of his own, as detailed in his "I Want" Song.
- Bowties Are Cool: A bowtie is part of his outfit (likely the nicest clothes he has) come the day of the factory tour. During the curtain call, when Charlie comes out dressed in a near-duplicate of Mr. Wonka's suit, one of the few differences between the costumes is that Charlie's has a bowtie rather than a traditional tie.
- Catch Phrase: "How d'ja do?" in Act One: It's part of the "Almost Nearly Perfect" refrain, turns up again in "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" and "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", and is the first thing he can think of to say on the red carpet.
- Cheerful Child: His Mr. Imagination tendencies help him make the most of his meager lot in life, though he does fall into a blue funk as his hopes of finding a Golden Ticket fade. He's not a case of Incorruptible Pure Pureness — he's sweet and kind, but he isn't above the occasional fib if it lets him hear a favorite story, he's prone to daydreaming, and while he tries to be selfless and obedient, he can't resist spending a bit of dropped money on a bar of chocolate or daring to look at the idea notebook. So he's not perfect, but to nick the title of his "I Am" Song (which refers to the discarded-but-still-useable things he finds at the dump), he's "Almost Nearly Perfect", and that's good enough for Mr. Wonka, who 1) encourages him, while in disguise, to buy the fateful bar, and 2) wants him to look at the notebook. It's a Secret Test — not of morals, but of creativity.
- Collector of the Strange: He loves Wonka Bars so much, even though he only gets one a year for his birthday, that at the dump he collects the wrappers that the patrons of Mrs. Pratchett's sweet stall leave behind. (He's particularly happy when he finds Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight wrappers, as that's his favorite variety of Wonka Bar.)
- Heroic BSOD: He goes into a funk when it looks like he won't find a Golden Ticket. Right after his annual birthday bar of chocolate proves not to have one, he and his family learn the third ticket has been found and it genuinely upsets him. The others (save for Grandpa George) try to keep his spirits up...and then the news of the fourth ticket being found — by Mike, the worst of the brats in this version to boot — breaks. For the next week, the poor boy is glum and quiet, not even asking to hear one of Grandpa Joe's stories.
- "I Am" Song: "Almost Nearly Perfect".
- I Can Explain: He uses these exact words when Mr. Wonka catches him adding to the idea book. (Not that he has to...).
- "I Want" Song: "A Letter from Charlie Bucket". Most of it details things he'd like Mr. Wonka to invent — in order to brighten up the lives of his parents and grandparents. He realizes at the end that there are two things he wants for himself: "Please drop them off yourself/So we can ask ya 'How d'ja do?'/And well, I'd like one Wonka Bar/That I would share with you." (Interestingly, by this point he's unknowingly managed the first part.)
- Mr. Imagination: He's more grounded than most examples of this trope, using his imagination to brighten up his life. This gives him something in common with Mr. Wonka: Charlie's shy, poor, humble, and warm and Mr. Wonka is a Large Ham, fabulously wealthy, boastful, and frosty, but both have vibrant imaginations and enormous senses of wonder; at heart, both want to create things to make other people happy.
- One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: Both Charlie and his dad keep an eye out for discarded items that they can find use for, be it a notebook that still has blank pages or a broken umbrella that can be fixed up. Charlie even sings in "Almost Nearly Perfect" that "Your trash is my treasure/Your 'Goodbye' is my 'How d'ja do.'"
- The Pollyanna: Downplayed. In the early going, he's of the mind that even if times are tough for him and his family now, things will eventually get better (in "Almost Nearly Perfect" there are the lyrics "But someday/When I have my say"...note the when), and he isn't fazed by the odds against his finding a Golden Ticket even though he'll only get one shot at it. But when that chance fails he reaches his breaking point, angrily declaring that the factory would just be a lot of machines anyway in a desperate attempt to hide his disappointment. Learning that the fourth ticket has been found triggers his Heroic BSOD, as he loses all hope that his dreams will ever be fulfilled. Luckily his fortunes finally take a turn for the better, and that blue funk doesn't keep him from being a good, Cheerful Child.
- The Runt at the End: After the other four Golden Ticket finders make flashy entrances on the red carpet come tour day, the poor boy — the last to find a ticket to begin with — cuts a shy, small figure by comparison and reporters Jerry and Cherry clearly see him as this while the other kids clearly have shots at the glorious secret super-prize. He and Grandpa Joe are always bringing up the rear; Mr. Wonka asks (during the introductions in "Strike That, Reverse It") "Is least the last to join our cast?" and when they dawdle in the Nut Room after Veruca's demise, they wind up having to ride in an actual bucket being towed by the Cool Boat to get to the Department of the Future, with Mr. Wonka noting that the boy has a bad habit of daydreaming.
The Four Bratty Kids in General
- Anti-Role Model: All four are repulsive brats who let their vices get the better of them long ago, and it shows in how they treat others.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The kids' major character flaws: being greedy, being spoiled, being obsessed with TV and... chewing gum? What? Violet is also bad mannered, and in the 2005 film and 2013 musical hyper-competitive, but the book really focuses on the gum chewing as her main flaw. It's Values Dissonance: When the book was written, society was a lot stricter about a lot of things, chewing gum included (chewing gum is noisy and can be disruptive to other people, but it's usually classrooms that ban it, rather than factories); as the Oompa-Loompa song in the 1971 version puts it, "If you've good manners, you will go far".
- A cut chapter from the book involves a sixth contestant: Miranda Piker, whose crimes are an inability to have fun and a superior attitude to others, being a teacher's pet and having a headmaster for a father. The two are undone when they decide to put a stop to the making of a candy that will allow students to fake being sick. Dahl cut Miranda out when he realized that there were too many characters. See below for more.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Finding the Golden Ticket. Seemingly everybody in the world wants to find one. Veruca and, in the 2005 film and 2013 musical, Mike even get theirs using underhanded methods (using laborers in her father's factory and "hacking" the ticket distribution to find the bar with it or just the ticket outright, respectively), and all five finders are considered "lucky winners". But four of them are subjected to horrible Ironic Hell punishments, which may or may not be Mr. Wonka's plan all along.
- Blessed with Suck: Winning the Golden Ticket. You get to be one of only five families that get: 1) to see and explore Mr. Wonka's chocolate factory, 2) a huge supply of chocolate and 3) a shot at a mysterious super-prize, but one small misstep and you are in for a very unpleasant experience, possibly with lasting damage.
- The Bully: Both Augustus and Violet have shades of this in the 2005 film.
- Creative Sterility: In The Golden Ticket and the 2013 stage musical, it's suggested that all four brats have this problem — they're too preoccupied with consuming/getting things or just becoming famous to actually create things, or even (in the former) to truly dream.
- Devil in Plain Sight: All four, but especially Veruca. The Bucket family, especially the grandparents, is dismayed to learn that each of them is repulsive in their own way, yet they are all indulged by their parents and acclaimed and celebrated for their luck, which isn't even really luck in Veruca's case, by the rest of the world. The four kids get a very rude awakening to their own faults once they're in the factory, because — while he may not show it at first — Willy Wonka, to say nothing of his Oompa-Loompas, does recognize them for who they are and has No Sympathy for what happens to them when they give in to their vices and meet dreadful fates.
- Dwindling Party: In the book, the 2005 film, and the opera, the kids all survive, but are eliminated from the tour/secret competition one by one. At the end of the book it is revealed that the "winner" is defined as the child whom Mr. Wonka likes best and Charlie, the only one who doesn't have a flaw that results in elimination, is that kid. In the 1971 film and 2013 musical, their fates are ambiguous — in the latter, three kids and one adult might suffer Death by Adaptation (and thus play this trope straight!).
- Famed In-Story: In the 2013 musical, Violet is this for sure, even having her own TV show. Augustus Gloop is also an eating contest champion in this version, and Veruca is the daughter of a billionaire.
- Fearless Fool: All of them! Augustus drinks from the chocolate river despite warnings and the fact that he can't even swim, Violet chews experimental gum despite warnings that it wasn't "quite right yet", Veruca tries to steal a trained, dangerous squirrel, and Mike sends himself through a clearly unsafe teleporter.
- Felony Misdemeanor: All the bratty kids (yes, even Veruca) but especially Violet whose "crime" in the book consists solely of chewing gum. In the book this is lampshaded when Veruca's father comments that yes, his daughter is bratty, but this doesn't justify her burning.
- Five-Man Band: Once you add Charlie Bucket, and acknowledge that the other four are their respective tropes gone bad...
- Five Temperament Ensemble: In the 2005 version.
- Charlie = Phlegmatic
- Violet = Choleric
- Mike = Melancholic
- Augustus = Leukine
- Veruca = Sanguine
- Foil: Each kid to Charlie, in different ways.
- Augustus enjoys all the food he wants. Charlie isn't even getting what he needs.
- Veruca demands her parents give her any valuable object she wants and gets it immediately. Charlie only wants mundane luxuries like chocolate and only gets them once per year.
- Violet is proud and rude. Charlie is humble and well-mannered.
- Mike doesn't appreciate the wonders of the factory — they go to the Television Chocolate room because he misses TV while on the tour. Charlie is absolutely fascinated with the place.
- Genre Blindness: All the kids, but especially Mike and Violet, who really should know better.
- Hate Sink: Not one of them has a redeeming trait to go with their brattiness, and while they aren't actively working against other characters, the reader is meant to feel great satisfaction as they meet poetically-appropriate fates in the factory. Their obnoxiousness is often heightened in adaptations to counter claims of Disproportionate Retribution.
- The Hedonist: All any of them care about are seeking their own pleasure and fame and fail to realize — until it's too late — that in Wonka's Factory, there are boundaries that must be respected.
- Humiliation Conga: All four kids go through this, particularly in the 2005 film and 2013 musical, in which most if not all of the kids have their personal songs sung in front of them (though they mostly don't seem to be paying attention). One by one: Augustus falls into a chocolate river in front of everyone, gets sucked up a glass tube and sticks, goes through who-knows-what in the Fudge Room, then exits the factory thin as a straw and/or covered in chocolate. Violet swells up and is rolled around, and ends up permanently blue. Veruca gets covered in trash. Mike is shrunk, then stretched to ridiculous proportions. All of them exit, in some demeaning fashion, filmed and being watched by presumably the whole world.
- The 1971 adaptation doesn't even show the children getting out at all, though Mr. Wonka does assure Charlie they'll be fine. In the 2013 stage musical, Mr. Wonka may actually have a Dwindling Party situation on his hands, and he doesn't care!
- Ironic Hell: The bratty kids' punishments.
- Kids Are Cruel: In the book, the bad kids aren't really mean at all, but adaptations use this to varying extents:
- In the 1971 film, Veruca seems to hate Violet, shoving her around for no real reason. (According to the DVD commentary, Julie and Denise fought regularly for the attention of Peter, who they both had a crush on. Each would sneak jabs at each other while the camera was rolling as a result of the tension, which was kept in.) Also, it's implied that at least Veruca and Mike have taken Mr. Slugworth up on his offer of further riches if they'll get him an Everlasting Gobstopper.
- There's a clearer mutual dislike in the 2005 film, and Veruca's schadenfreude at Violet turning into a blueberry. This is likely because both girls (Veruca due to being spoiled and Violet due to being a competitive perfectionist) feel a need to be the center of attention, and don't like sharing the limelight with one another. Also, Violet and Augustus pick on Charlie. Again, this is probably due to Violet's competitiveness, but Augustus just randomly mocks him. He said nothing to him in the book.
- In The Golden Ticket, Veruca is subjected to Adaptational Villainy; she agrees to be a spy and videotape the tour after she gets her ticket. She also says "Let's face it, who's going to miss Mikey Teavee?" after he's shrunk...in front of his terrified mother. Violet picks on Augustus with regards to his weight when they're both interviewed, and thinks he deserves his karmic fate in the pipes. And both Mike and Veruca look down on Charlie.
- Mike is an Enfant Terrible in the 2013 stage musical, and Veruca's bossier than ever (if not as malicious as her Golden Ticket counterpart). And while the brats don't pick on Charlie, they occasionally snipe at each other (Violet even uses two lines of her Boastful Rap / "I Am" Song to put down Veruca before they've met!) — and certainly don't hesitate to put down/snap at that crazy old guy who will serve as their tour guide...
- Laser-Guided Karma: Happens to all the children, whose misfortunes — or, in Charlie's case, good fortune — are a direct result of their personality and actions.
- Lost in Imitation: The four kids' home countries aren't specified in the novel. The 1971 film was the first to make them a Multinational Team (see below), and other versions follow its lead, down to the countries involved.
- Menace Decay: These kids don't seem so awful in the book and 1971 film to modern viewers, which makes their fates seem wildly out of proportion to their sins (though they are all cause-and-effect situations — equivalent to a person walking into a lion's cage and getting mauled). From the 2005 film onward, they are portrayed as more obnoxious, if not outright wicked, to counteract this trope. But depending on the adaptation, their punishments might be more extreme as well...
- Multinational Team: Starting with the 1971 film, it is traditional to depict the brats as German (Augustus), British (Veruca), and American (Violet and Mike), with Charlie's nationality usually left ambiguous — he's either British or American. Two audiobook narrators broke with tradition for one character apiece — Eric Idle's Veruca Salt is American, and Douglas Hodge's Mike is British.
- Spoiled Brat: All four. Augustus' parents feed him pounds of chocolate, Violet's parents indulge all her obnoxious habits, Veruca's parents get her anything she wants, and Mike Teevee's parents actually encourage his television watching because it means they won't have to babysit him.
- Too Dumb to Live: Kind of in the 1971 film.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: In the 2005 film.
- Victimized Bystander: The naughty children who fall victim to events in the factory survive in most versions, but with "reminders" of their misbehavior. Augustus is thin as a rail from being squeezed through the pipes, Violet is purple, Veruca is covered in garbage, and Mike is a 10-foot giant (the end result of being put through a taffy puller to de-shrink him).
Michael Bollner (1971 film)
Philip Wiegratz (2005 film)
Andrew Drost (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Jenson Steele (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
This obese boy, whose "hobby" is eating, is the first Golden Ticket finder, and the first to fall prey to the factory's perils when he decides to drink directly from the Chocolate Room's river and winds up falling into it. Drowning turns out to be the least
of his worries...
Julie Dawn Cole (1971 film)
Julia Winter (2005 film)
Abigail Nims (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Tia Noakes (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
Ticket finder number two is a spoiled little rich girl who gets everything
she wants. Notably, she didn't find the ticket on her own — rather, her father (who runs a peanut factory) had his employees "shell" thousands of Wonka Bars until one of them found a ticket. She is the third child to be eliminated from the tour when her attempt to steal a trained, nut-sorting squirrel from The Nut Room ends with her tossed down a rubbish chute that leads to an incinerator that may or may not be lit today. (Her parents go down it as well in an effort to save her.)
In the novel and/or multiple adaptations:
- Adaptational Intelligence: In the novel, 2005 film and 2013 musical, she just throws tantrums if her parents don't bow to her demands right away and at least in the first two is implied to be literally empty headed, but in the 1971 film and 2010 opera she also emotionally manipulates her father, telling him what an awful person he is for not getting her what she wants. In the opera, she's also unusually savvy about business for a 10-year-old, both in telling her father to mortgage his factory when he tries to explain that the search for the Golden Ticket is bankrupting him and her agreeing to act as a spy during the tour.
- All Take and No Give: In the 1971 film, 2010 opera, and 2013 musical, Veruca to her dad.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She constantly tries to appear adorable, only to throw a tantrum once in a while.
- Bratty Half-Pint: When she's mad.
- Covered in Gunge: Garbage, to be exact, once she and her parents go down the Nut Room's chute.
- Daddy's Girl: Mr. Salt is the primary pamperer between her two parents. How much she loves him back varies from version to version. Adaptations almost always render Mrs. Salt Demoted to Extra or Adapted Out (the key exception is Richard George's non-musical play) so this trope is played up further.
- Deliberately Cute Child: In the 2005 film and 2013 musical, she attempts to be this for Mr. Wonka. He isn't fooled for a second.
- Diseased Name: A verucca is a plantar wart. This trope is lampshaded in-story by Mr. Wonka; in the 2013 musical she points out "The wart has two Cs, I've got one." It doesn't work because he "misinterprets" this statement to mean she has one wart...
- Dumb Blonde with Hair Decorations: In Quentin Blake's illustrations and the 2013 musical; in the former she has a pink bow in her hair, and in the latter it's a pink headband.
- Hollow Sounding Head: Unusually it is an actual plot point, rather than just a brief gag, in the novel and most adaptations.
- Hollywood Dress Code: Veruca is specifically mentioned to have a mink coat in the book. This marked her as a Rich Bitch even before wearing fur was wrong.
- It's All About Me: She's completely self-absorbed and makes those around her absolutely miserable when she doesn't get what she wants right away.
- Meaningful Name: "Verruca" is the scientific latin name for warts. Lampshaded by Mr. Wonka.
- Pink Means Feminine: In Quentin Blake's illustrations and the 2013 musical, the latter specifically referencing her love of ballet (her outfit comes complete with a tutu). She even arrives at the factory in a pink limo in that version. The color also might have been chosen due to its connotation with princesses.
- Pretty in Mink: Veruca has furs because she's spoiled in the book and most adaptations. Julie Dawn Cole actually wore a custom-made little mink coat made for the part for the 1971 movie. It's fake in the 2005 film, though the character could easily have a real one.
- Regal Ringlets: Several illustrators give her these, and she has them in the 2005 film as well.
- Rich Bitch: Her family's wealth helped make her the Spoiled Brat she is today, and though a child she's as snobby, rude, well-dressed, and entitled as any adult example of this trope. This is played up in The Golden Ticket, in which she is played by an adult actress.
- This is also apparent in the 1971 version, where despite having everything she wants, she is willing to sell one of Wonka's recipes to Slugworth for even more money.
- Seven Deadly Sins: She represents Greed with a touch of Envy.
- Spoiled Brat: As noted above, all the kids are this to some extent, but she's the worst by far and the Oompa-Loompa song that sends her off is about why.
In the 1971 film:
In the 2005 film:
In the 2010 opera:
- Adaptational Villainy: After she gets her ticket she agrees to a deal with a television host: With her father's help, she'll secretly film the interior of Mr. Wonka's factory; this makes her a spy as well as a greedy brat. Veruca also gets the most stage time of the brats in this version, explicitly being portrayed as a ruthless Foil to selfless Charlie Bucket. With this in mind, while in all other versions she is the third brat to be eliminated from the tour, here she's the last to go.
- Blondes Are Evil: As opposed to certain other versions presenting her as a Dumb Blonde.
- Bound and Gagged: One squirrel gags her while she is tested during her elimination.
- Enfant Terrible: She never even tries to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She has a teddy bear...that she strangles to work out her frustration with not getting a Golden Ticket right away.
In the 2013 musical:
Denise Nickerson (1971 film) AnnaSophia Robb
Ashley Emerson (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Jade Johnson (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
The third Golden Ticket winner is a world-champion gum chewer who is both prideful and rude. She is the second child to "drop out" of the tour when she samples an experimental stick of gum that Mr. Wonka doesn't have quite right
In the book and across adaptations:
- Baleful Polymorph: Her karmic punishment is a transformation into a giant blueberry! In the 2005 film her mom's first concern is that she won't be able "to compete". In the 2013 musical her father has similar concerns ("I can't have a blueberry on the cover of Vogue!") but quickly thinks of other moneymaking opportunities for her in her new form...and forgets that she's in real danger.
- Bubblegum Popping: Does this a few times in the 2005 film and twice in the 2010 opera.
- Competition Freak: Besides her pride in becoming a record-holding gum chewer, she became involved in the Golden Ticket contest more for the glory she'd get if she found a ticket than desire for the actual prize, though she's quite happy to know that said prize will include gum! In the 2005 film, this becomes her defining trait, and it is also played up in the 2013 musical ("I may love chewing gum/But I like winning even more"), owing to Values Dissonance over her gum-chewing habit being portrayed as a vice equivalent to those of the other brats.
- The Ditz: Of the kids the audience gets to know at length (Augustus being a case of We Hardly Knew Ye), she is the dumbest. This is downplayed in the 1971 film and eliminated in the 2005 film, but brought back in The Golden Ticket and the 2013 stage musical, in which she's effectively a Brainless Beauty in the making.
- "I Am" Song: The 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka gave her "Chew It" (see below for 2013 musical-specific tropes).
- Iconic Item: Her world record-breaking piece of chewing gum, which she is still chewing on at every opportunity after three months. When she's asleep, she puts it on her bedpost for safe keeping; when she's awake and not chewing on it (namely at mealtimes), she sticks it behind her ear.
- Meaningful Name: Beauregarde is French for "good/high regard", which she clearly holds herself in.
- Motor Mouth: Taken to ridiculous levels in the 1971 film — and further still in the 2002 unabridged audiobook (not surprising, as the reader is Eric Idle). In the 2013 musical, it turns out that her chewing skill sprang up from her mom's efforts to keep her quiet, and one of the requirements to play her is that she can rap.
- Not Quite Back to Normal: She is changed back from being a blueberry, but remains permanently purple-skinned. In the 2005 film, her "recovery" also leaves her whole body absurdly flexible. In the 2013 musical, after she explodes in a shower of glitter, Mr. Wonka has her swept out and away to be restored, but with no guarantee that the (offstage) Disney Death won't result in this trope.
- Oral Fixation: She loves chewing gum so much that she only takes breaks at mealtime and bedtime, and even then, that little piece of gum is never far away.
- Poke the Poodle: Unlike the other brats she is never mean to anybody, though she admits that she used to switch her gum once a day and leave the previous wad on an elevator button; she was highly amused by the reactions of adults when they inevitably got it on their fingers. ("You get the best results with women who have expensive gloves on.")
- Prophetic Name: Oh, her fate will leave her very violet, indeed.
- Quirky Curls: The most energetic, ditzy, and goofy of the five Golden Ticket finders has a "great big mop of curly hair", which is red to boot. The only major adaptation that sticks with red hair is The Golden Ticket, and even there it's long enough to be in pigtails.
- Seven Deadly Sins: She represents Pride.
- Too Dumb to Live: Really, popping a piece of still-experimental gum in your mouth straightaway? In fact, in the book and 1971 film her parent(s) initially warn her not to do anything stupid...but in those and other versions, as soon as she starts to chew and declares that it works just as Mr. Wonka says, they cheer her on, proud that she's the first person ever to have a chewing gum meal. Never mind that Mr. Wonka continues to demand she spit it out before she hits dessert...
- Trademark Favorite Food: Gum!
In the 1971 film:
In the 2005 film:
- Action Girl / You Go Girl: She can go toe to toe with male, adult karate opponents and take them down handily — and does in her Establishing Character Moment.
- Adaptational Badass: Whatever she sets her mind to doing, she works hard to become the best there is at it, be it sports, gum chewing, etc.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Blonde, and her hair also qualfies as...
- Boyish Short Hair: It's a straight blonde bob, which provides a contrast to Veruca's Regal Ringlets.
- Cursed with Awesome: At the end, she is now perhaps permanently blue, but with a body that can stretch like rubber. Mr. Wonka and Violet's mother are the ones who view it negatively; Violet herself reckons (and rightfully so!) that this "punishment" is made of win.
Violet: Look, mother, I'm much more flexible now!
Violet's Mother: Yes, but you're blue.
- Cute Bruiser: See Adaptational Badass above.
- Glory Seeker: Her life is devoted to winning. Nothing else.
- Go-Getter Girl: Her fixation on triumphing in any competition that comes her way results in a rather serious, all-business manner for her age.
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: This is her attitude towards winning the secret prize promised by the tour, though she doesn't say the actual phrase.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's the tomboy to Violet's girly girl.
In the 2010 opera:
- Daddy's Girl: Unlike Veruca Salt, she has a healthy relationship with her dad. Her Golden Ticket find came about when she was willing to break her perpetual diet and have just one bite of chocolate at his urging. ("So I said, 'Okay, Popsy-poo...I think I'll do it just for you.") Later, he stays with her while she's being de-juiced, and the last we hear of her as the scene changes is her crying out for him as the process begins.
- Girlish Pigtails: As with the other brats in this adaptation, Violet is played by an adult rather than an actual child, so having these is helpful in making her look younger.
- I Just Want to Be Beautiful: Her primary vice is vanity rather than pride in this version, and it's why she's so weight-obsessed.
- Kids Are Cruel: Constantly picks on Augustus's weight to the point of saying he deserves his karmic fate just for being fat!
- Weight Woe: She's obsessed with being thin, making her a Foil to Fat and Proud Augustus Gloop. This is why she's always chewing gum — it substitutes for actual eating.
In the 2013 musical:
- Aristocrats Are Evil: A downplayed variant. The starlet has no royal blood but is a celebrity who proudly boasts of being "The Double Bubble Duchess"; her father also refers to her as "royalty of the highest order". They may not be evil, but putting on such airs emphasizes their egotistical, obnoxious natures.
- Attention Whore: Her and her father's single-minded pursuit of her fame and fortune despite her lack of anything that makes her worth paying attention to makes them both Attention Whores and Shameless Self Promoters. And it works...until they arrive in the world of someone who may be boastful but earned the right to brag through years of hard work and cultivated creativity. Ultimately, her foolishness makes the center of attention in a way she doesn't want.
- Boastful Rap / "I Am" Song: "The Double Bubble Duchess".
- Bratty Half-Pint: Owing to her stardom-inflated ego.
- Break the Haughty: Her ego and sense of entitlement factor heavily into her fate — why shouldn't she try the experimental gum? Why should she heed that crazy old guy warning her to stop?
- Daddy's Girl: She and her dad love each other — and feed each other's egos to boot.
- Disney Death: She explodes offstage! Mr. Wonka says there's hope: Provided she hasn't started to ferment, she can be restored to at least Not Quite Back to Normal and invoke this trope. The audience never finds out exactly what happens to her.
- Embarrassing Nickname: She may be the Double Bubble Duchess to the wide world, but when she meets her comeuppance the Oompa-Loompas give her the rather less flattering nickname "Juicy!"
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: She wears a sparkly purple velour jumpsuit at all times. This has a blackly comic payoff when she undergoes her transformation — she becomes the glitter ball at the center of a Gratuitous Disco Sequence, and when she explodes, a sparkly Confetti Drop ensues.
- Race Lift: She and her father are black rather than Caucasian, though they could be played by other races. Initially, only non-white actresses were sought for the role of Violet (which, like the other child roles in this show, is rotated among 3-4 different performers), but complaints about stereotyping — given that she raps — being added to Violet's traditional brattiness led to this requirement being dropped by the end of 2013. In any case, this is the first major adaptation to firmly break away from Monochrome Casting all the Golden Ticket winners as white. (In the Atlanta Opera production of The Golden Ticket Charlie's role was alternated between a white and a black actor, but that was likely Ability Over Appearance — all of his grandparents were white, raising some weird Fridge Logic over who his parents, absent in that version, were.)
- Seven Deadly Sins: In this version she represents Sloth as well as Pride — she has fame but never put in real effort to earn it.
- Shameless Self-Promoter / Small Name, Big Ego: With her father's help she has parlayed her "talent" into a full-fledged career in the entertainment industry, as he explains to Wonka: "She's got her own TV show, line of perfume, and we are opening boutiques all over the world." Pride is definitely her primary vice.
Paris Themmen (1971 film)
Jordan Paul Fry (2005 film)
Gerald Thompson (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Jay Heyman (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
The fourth Golden Ticket finder's favorite activity is watching television in the novel and 1971 film. Because Technology Marches On
, his interests are expanded to include all forms of potentially mind-rotting electronic media in later adaptations. The last brat to be eliminated from the tour when he decides he wants to be "sent by television" via the Television-Chocolate setup.
In the book and across adaptations:
- Bratty Half-Pint: His Establishing Character Moment in the novel and 1971 film is his telling off the reporters who want to interview him because he's busy watching television. During the tour, he is prone to incredulous and/or rude comments and questions about Mr. Wonka's creations. Tellingly, Mr. Wonka becomes subtly, progressively more annoyed by them, hence his habit of brushing them off with claims that the boy's mumbling.
- Cursed with Awesome: Mr. Wonka regards Mike's ultimate fate as this, pointing out that "Every basketball team in the country will be trying to get him."
- Firing in the Air a Lot / Gun Nut: A kid-friendly version — Mike has no less than eighteen toy pistols on his person at all times in the book, and while watching action shows likes to fire them in the air. In the 1971 film, he has a toy pistol and admits to the TV interviewer "Wait 'til I get a real one. Colt .45. (turning to his dad) Pop won't let me have a real one, will ya Pop?" "Not 'til you're 12, son." The 2005 film and 2013 musical make him a fan of Shoot 'em Up video games, while the 2010 opera has him carrying a toy machine gun with him.
- "I Am" Song: In the 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, he has "I See It All On TV".
- Incredible Shrinking Man: He winds up an inch high (usually larger in adaptations — but only fashion doll-sized at most) when he tries out the Television Chocolate setup on himself.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When Mr. Wonka reflects on Violet's fate, saying that her chewing gum habit was a nasty one, Mike asks him why he manufactures gum if he hates it so much.
- Meaningful Name / Punny Name: One of the most obvious ever!
- Noodle People: He's stretched out on a machine that tests chewing gum to restore his height — rather too much, resulting in him becoming a ten-foot-tall noodle person!
- Seven Deadly Sins: He represents Sloth in the novel and 1971 film, and Anger/Wrath is added to this in the 2005 film, 2010 opera, and 2013 musical (he loves Shoot 'em Up games in all three, wants to be a Sociopathic Soldier in the opera, and is an Enfante Terrible in the musical).
- Skewed Priorities: He's absolutely fine with being miniaturized in the book because not only has he become the first person to be sent by television, he can still watch TV!
In the 1971 film:
- Nightmare Fetishist: He actually seems to enjoy the boat ride, noting "Boy, what a great series this would make" and, afterwards, "Now why don't they show stuff like that on TV?"
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Mike is supposed to be from New Mexico but speaks in a stereotypically New York fashion when he's trying to sound like a tough guy (probably Rule of Funny).
In the 2005 film:
In the 2010 opera:
- Adaptation Personality Change: In the novel and most adaptations he's the smartest of the brats (not that that's saying much), but in this version he's no smarter than Augustus or Violet — he might even be dumber — and his habit of questioning Mr. Wonka during the tour is completely dropped.
- Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: While he's written as the oldest of the brats, he's the hardest to keep in one place. In his opening scene, when he's being interviewed in a TV studio, he won't stay in his chair and winds up causing a blackout. Later, he chases the floating bubbles in the Bubblevision room.
- Speech Impediment: He has a stutter, suggested to be a side effect of his hyperactivity.
- Teens Are Monsters: Aged up to 13 (from nine in the novel) and appears to be a Type 2 Sociopathic Soldier in the making, as he's specifically obsessed with programs about violence and war. Luckily, his Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! nature keeps him from being truly dangerous to others.
- Totally Radical: His introductory monologue: "C-c-c-c-cool B-babies!/Plug me in, man! Wicked!" Oddly, later he uses terms like "Wowee!" and "See you later, allig-g-g-gator!", which aren't any less dated and sound even stranger given the character's intended age.
In the 2013 musical:
- Adaptational Intelligence: Like his 2005 counterpart, he's a whiz with computers and actually goes that version of the character one better in that...
- The Cracker: ...By hacking Mr. Wonka's computers, he got a Golden Ticket without having to buy a Wonka Bar at all! Mr. Wonka isn't happy about this to say the least, but he lets him into the factory anyway and even asks the kid to explain how he did it in "Strike That, Reverse It".
- Enfant Terrible: The Teavees let electronic media babysit him because, despite all their best efforts, they can't keep him from getting into real-world trouble if he isn't glued to a screen of some sort. Said trouble, which he seems to get into solely for his own amusement, includes...
- Genre Savvy: By experience, but ultimately subverted when he encounters the Television-Chocolate setup and forgets what happened to the other brats who succumbed to temptations.
- "I Am" Song: With his mother, "It's Teavee Time" (his part also overlaps with Villain Song).
- It Amused Me: If he isn't enjoying his video games and whatnot, he's committing actual destructive acts for fun, so as Mrs. Teavee explains, "the authorities request/That little Mike not leave the house."
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: While Jay Heyman handles Mike's American accent well, when he shouts "You can't stop progress!" in the lead-in dialogue to the cast album version of "Vidiots" he does use the British pronunciation of progress.
- Out of the Frying Pan: He runs the risk of getting lost forever in Cyberspace ("What once was viral's soon forgot"), but never fear, the others manage to isolate him in the Television Chocolate monitor and Mrs. Teavee pulls the now-miniaturized boy out. Turns out she likes him better that way...
Jack Albertson (1971 film)
David Kelly (2005 film)
Keith Jameson (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Nigel Planer (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
Charlie Bucket lives in a Multigenerational Household
with his parents and both sets of grandparents. The grandparents have been bedridden for decades when the story begins. Of the four, Grandpa Joe — who is fascinated by Wonka's Factory and knows all the stories that surround it — is the most hopeful that Charlie will find a Golden Ticket. When the boy does, the old man is so excited and happy that he gets out of bed to serve as Charlie's guardian for the factory tour.
- Ascended Extra: In the books he's just sort of there along with Charlie, though he also handles a lot of exposition early on in the first installment. All adaptations give him more to do; by way of screen/stage time, this character is always the secondary adult lead.
- In the 2005 film and the stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, he's actually a former employee of Mr. Wonka's.
- In The Golden Ticket he is not even bedridden; he seems to be the one who supports (to however small extent) the rest of the family, as in this version Charlie's parents are absent. This is zigzagged, though — see Demoted to Extra below.
- Born Unlucky: In the 2013 musical, according to "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", the reason he became bedridden so long ago was that times were so tough he believed he was an example of this! "All my four-leaf clovers wilted/And my rabbit's foot had mange/The genie in the bottle turned up dead".
- Composite Character: With Adapted Out Mr. Bucket in the 2010 opera, since he seems to be the meager breadwinner of the family.
- Cool Old Guy: Downplayed in most versions, but he's certainly fun to be with. Definitely this in the 1971 film, owing to his Deadpan Snarker tendencies (heck, he even enjoys the boat tunnel at first).
- Deadpan Snarker: In the 1971 film. "If [Veruca's] a lady, then I'm a Vermicious Knid!"
- Demoted to Extra: As the other grandparents become Ascended Extras in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, he becomes this. For that matter, in the 2010 opera, while he is a Composite Character with Mr. Bucket his Mr. Exposition function is completely eliminated, his celebration when Charlie finds the last ticket is dropped, and he's sidelined from the final stretch of the tour when he stays behind to comfort Mrs. Teavee (Mike is third, not fourth, to be eliminated in this version).
- Doting Grandparent: All of Charlie's grandparents love him dearly, but Grandpa Joe isn't just a relative, but a true friend who's willing to sacrifice what little money he's saved up to get Charlie a Wonka Bar in hopes of the boy finding a Golden Ticket. He also is determined, in both the 1971 and 2013 versions, to make sure Charlie gets everything he's been promised.
- Fun Personified: The most fun-loving of the Bucket family members in the 2013 musical, which might be why he becomes the factory's offical taster and an honorary Oompa-Loompa.
- Greater Need Than Mine: He gives up the tiny bit of money (a few coins of change, really) he's saved so Charlie can buy a Wonka Bar and — hopefully — find a Golden Ticket in the novel and most adaptations. In the 1971 version Joe uses the money Charlie, having earned it on a paper route, had earmarked for the former's tobacco habit (which he's giving up anyway). In the 2013 musical, Grandma Josephine points out that the 53 and 1/2 pence Joe stashed away in a sock was for his funeral, but Joe's says he's fine with just being packed away in a rubbish bag and left on the curb when he dies if Charlie gets his heart's desire! Notably, in all versions this Wonka Bar doesn't yield a ticket.
- Mr. Exposition: He delivers most of the backstory of Mr. Wonka and the factory in the opening stretch of the novel and most adaptations.
- The Munchausen: In the 2013 musical, a Running Gag is his tendency to tell silly tall tales about his past: he claims to have fought with the Light Brigade, traveled with Scott of the Antarctic, ran a four-minute mile in the 1948 Olympics, etc. (An In-Joke detail reveals that he has at least one true feat to his credit, though — the uniform he wears to the factory marks him as having served as an RAF pilot in World War II...as Roald Dahl did.)
- Older Sidekick: All versions.
- Sidekick Song
- "I've Got a Golden Ticket" in the 1971 film.
- "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" in the 2013 musical.
- The Storyteller: He knows all kinds of stories — including the history of Mr. Wonka and his factory — and relating a story or two to Charlie is a nightly after-dinner ritual.
- Tempting Fate: In the 1971 film's Fizzy Lifting Drink room: "A swallow won't hurt us!"
- What the Hell, Hero?
- In the 1971 film, he tries this on Mr. Wonka in response to the one he delivers to Charlie over the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, but it fails miserably — and he intends to make a Face-Heel Turn as a result.
- In the 2013 musical, he delivers one to Mr. Wonka regarding the Exact Words regarding the lifetime supply of sweets — and winds up pressing a Berserk Button.
The Rest of the Bucket Family
In the novels:
- Adult Fear: In the sequel, poor Mr. and Mrs. Bucket are put through the emotional wringer in the second half when they watch their parents (besides Joe) accidentally get de-aged to babyhood or, in Grandma Georgina's case, out of this plane of existence. As Georgina is Mrs. Bucket's mother, she is particularly hard-hit by this. Dealing with the sight of the over-aged Georgina is similarly terrifying.
- Alliterative Family: By marriage! Charlie's grandparents are named Joe, Josephine, George, and Georgina, and are almost always referred to as "Grandma/Grandpa [name]" to boot!
- Ascended Extra: The grandparents become central to the plot of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
- Chew Toy: Grandma Georgina in the sequel.
- Fainting: Grandma Georgina does this when the Great Glass Elevator crashes through the roof of their house at the end of the first book.
- Flat Character: All five in the first book; also applies to the counterparts who appear in the 1971 and 2010 adaptations. The sequel does take steps to give the grandparents distinct personalities, whereas in the first book they're virtually interchangeable, but adaptations usually take them in other directions than Dahl did.
- As described below, Charlie's parents and grandparents are this to the brats' parents.
- In the sequel, bad-tempered and snarky Chew Toy Grandma Georgina is this to the upbeat, always-in-control (but even snarkier) Willy Wonka.
- Good Parents / Happily Married: Charlie's parents (except for the 1971 film and The Golden Ticket) and both sets of his grandparents. The fact that he has a loving, though poor, family makes him contrast with the bratty, dysfunctional rich kids even more. Charlie's parents get a duet in the 2013 stage musical, "If Your Mother Were Here", that makes this even clearer: They're both so busy working or looking for work that they don't get to spend much time together, but they both love each other and Charlie deeply, the essence of Good Parents.
- Granny Classic: Both grandmothers, though they're too weak to do much anymore and not above the occasional moment of grumpy snark, come off as this in the first book. At the end and in the sequel, the pricklier, anxious sides of their personalities emerge in the presence of Willy Wonka, which is quite understandable.
- Housewife: Mrs. Bucket in most versions, with the exceptions of the 1971 film and 2013 musical, both of which give her a job involving laundry on top of caring for her family.
- Hysterical Woman: Grandma Josephine throughout the sequel — her panicking when Mr. Wonka flies the elevator really high to make a proper descent is what winds up sending the elevator into orbit. Later, her panicked despair as they face capture by Vermicious Knids gives Mr. Wonka a Eureka Moment. Mrs. Bucket also becomes this as most of the grandparents are de-aged to babies or out of existence altogether — in part because Grandma Georgina, who vanishes, is her own mother.
- Unnamed Parent: Mr. and Mrs. Bucket, who have no given first names in the novels or any adaptations.
In the 1971 film:
- Adapted Out / Disappeared Dad / Death by Adaptation: Mr. Bucket died sometime before the events of the 1971 film begin.
- Ascended Extra: Mrs. Bucket gets a solo, "Cheer Up, Charlie". It's one of only three musical numbers set before the story gets to the factory.
- Living Prop: Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina have no lines and hardly contribute to the plot. Grandma Josephine doesn't fare much better, but at least she gets 2 or 3 lines in. None of their actors are credited.
In the 2005 film:
- Cloudcuckoolander: Grandma Georgina. Her Establishing Character Moment has her adding to the other characters' conversation about the factory the following: "I love grapes."
- The Cynic / Grumpy Old Man: Grandpa George is the one who most often brings up the fact that Charlie really has no chance of finding a ticket. The first trope is ultimately inverted when he's the one who gives an idealistic speech to persuade Charlie to use the Golden Ticket, rather than sell it for cash.
- Deadpan Snarker: Grandpa George's grumpiness makes him good at snarking. When Willy Wonka unintentionally insults the rest of Charlie's family in the late going, he adds "No offense" to his speech; Grandpa George replies "None taken, jerk."
In the 2010 opera:
In the 2013 musical:
- Ascended Extra: All of them get moments in the spotlight in Act One — the grandparents get to help Grandpa Joe deliver "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" and later follow his lead in getting out of bed in "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie". The parents have "If Your Mother Were Here" as they try to comfort Charlie.
- The Cynic / Grumpy Old Man: Again, Grandpa George fits both tropes, mostly to be a foil to Fun Personified Grandpa Joe. Even in his sunnier moods, he has a glass-half-empty streak going — when Charlie finds his ticket and the family celebrates the rich possibilities ahead of them, he notes "We'll have no more cabbage suppers/Now I'll have to wear me uppers" and "We can even get divorces!"
- Dirty Old Woman: Grandma Georgina — as the grandparents recount "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka", she twice praises the man for his attractiveness. According to her, he "[h]as a sex appeal what makes me feel young!" and "Whips a swirl that makes a girl go wild".
- Foil: Cynical Grandpa George is this to fun-loving Grandpa Joe, and demure and sweet Grandma Josephine is this to feisty Dirty Old Woman Grandma Georgina. (Nicely summed up by which section of the newspaper each reads first: Joe likes the cartoons, George the obituaries, Josephine the society pages, and Georgina the horseracing news.)
- Mr. Exposition: The grandparents are elevated to equal footing with Grandpa Joe with regards to this trope in the early going.
- Parental Love Song: "If Your Mother Were Here" for both parents.
- Society Marches On: In the novel and 2005 film Mrs. Bucket is a Housewife with no job outside the home — even though Mr. Bucket can barely keep the family housed and fed and another paycheck couldn't hurt, the possibility that she might be able to bring in extra income is never broached. (She works in the 1971 film, since Mr. Bucket has passed on before it begins, leaving her the only able-bodied adult in the house.) In this version both of them have jobs allowing the family to scrape by, though Mr. Bucket loses his shortly before the action begins.
The Bratty Kids' Parents
General and book-specific tropes:
In the 1971 film:
- Adaptational Villainy: As with some of the brats, Mrs. Teavee apparently wants to sell Mr. Wonka's secrets to Slugworth (to her son when he asks whether Slugworth might be interested in the Wonkamobile: "Just keep your eyes open and your mouth shut").
- Adaptation Personality Change: Mr. Salt goes from The Comically Serious to frequently frazzled. For that matter, the Demoted to Extra Mrs. Salt comes off as a resigned Housewife rather than the Rich Bitch of the book in her one scene.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: Henry and Henrietta Salt. The latter is also a case of...
- Big Eater: Augustus' father, to the point that during the interview after Augustus finds his ticket, the man eats the microphone in passing!
- Bilingual Bonus: A bicultural version! When Mr. Beauregarde asks Mr. Salt what business he's in, he replies "Nuts." To a Brit this may seem like a very straightforward answer, but in the US it's the equivalent of "Get stuffed."
- Comically Missing the Point: Mr. Salt just laughs when Veruca falls down the garbage chute and Mr. Wonka says it leads to the furnace, but jumps in to rescue her when Mr. Wonka speculates that she could just be stuck inside the chute. "Inside the — Hold on! Veruca! Sweetheart! Daddy's coming!"
- Demoted to Extra: Mr. Gloop (who has no dialogue), Mrs. Salt, Mrs. Beauregarde (only her voice is heard), and Mr. Teavee.
- Extreme Omnivore: Augustus' father eating a microphone!
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Mrs. Teavee mistakes Mozart for Rachmaninoff and hasn't heard of Loompaland despite being a geography teacher.
- Large Ham: Mr. Beauregarde, which is fitting for a guy who's both a used-car salesman and a politician! He even uses the TV coverage of Violet getting her Golden Ticket to try and plug his lot, much to her annoyance.
- Named by the Adaptation: Henry and Henrietta Salt and "Square Deal Sam" Beauregarde.
- Nervous Wreck: Mr. Salt, after being put upon by his bratty daughter. His sanity is not exactly aided by the craziness in Mr. Wonka's factory, or when his daughter goes down a garbage chute.
In the 2005 film:
- Adapted Out: Mr. Beauregarde and Mrs. Teavee.
- Beehive Hairdo: Mrs. Gloop.
- British Stuffiness: Mr. Salt, as played by James Fox. Note that Mr. Salt is usually portrayed as British in adaptations, but this is the only one who can be called stuffy.
- Demoted to Extra: Mr. Gloop and Mrs. Salt, neither of whom get dialogue.
- Disappeared Dad: Mr. Beauregarde.
- Lady Drunk: How Mrs. Salt is portrayed, complete with the obligatory martini glass.
- Missing Mom: Mrs. Teavee.
- Rich Bitch / Stepford Smiler / Stage Mom: Mrs. Beauregarde appears to fit all three tropes, as she clearly is pushing her daughter to succeed and exceed her own accomplishments.
- Seven Deadly Sins: Mrs. Beauregarde's interest in Willy Wonka makes her a representative of Lust!
- Skewed Priorities: Mrs. Beauregarde is more concerned with how her daughter will be able "to compete" as a blueberry than the girl's actual transformation!
- Stalker with a Crush: Mrs. Beauregarde shows shades of this towards Mr. Wonka, but she turns threatening after her daughter is turned into a blueberry.
In the 2010 opera:
- Adaptational Villainy: Veruca's dad goes along with the plan to spy/videotape the factory. It doesn't help that in this specific version, he runs a candy factory rather than simply a nut factory. Does he have an ulterior motive in agreeing to Candy Mallow's offer?
- Adapted Out: Mr. Gloop, Mrs. Salt, Mrs. Beauregarde, and Mr. Teavee.
- Affectionate Nickname: Lord Salt calls his daughter "lollipop," and Mrs. Gloop calls her son "My little egg-yolk." Call it Edible Theme Nicknaming.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Given that he's subjected to Adaptational Villainy, it's telling that Veruca's dad is known as Lord Salt here.
- Ascended Extra: Again, Lord Salt, owing to his and Veruca's expanded roles.
- Composite Character: Lord Salt is a combination of his book counterpart and the rival candymakers who bedeviled Mr. Wonka in the Backstory, which isn't discussed in this adaptation.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Well, Lord Salt definitely isn't adverse to spying on his competition...
- Disappeared Dad: Mr. Gloop and Mr. Teavee.
- Missing Mom: Mrs. Salt and Mrs. Beauregarde.
In the 2013 musical:
- Adapted Out / Missing Mom: Mrs. Salt.
- Ascended Extra: Mrs. Teavee. A Stepford Smiler Housewife and the Only Sane Adult amongst the tour group members here, she provides a great deal of comedy throughout the show — and leaves the factory a much happier person than she was when she went in.
- Bad Liar: Mrs. Teavee. She insists that her son is just a little high-strung rather than an Enfant Terrible, but just running down what he's already done proves he isn't (not to mention that his behavior throughout constantly contradicts her). She also claims to Mr. Wonka that it's "just allegations" that Teavee cheated to find his ticket, and that the flask in her purse contains "homemade lemonade".
- Big Fun: Mrs. Gloop is a jolly sort, as is her husband. She believes her son to be this as well, but while he is a Cheerful Child, his grotesque gluttony is less this trope and more Fat Bastard.
- Creative Sterility: When faced with the wonder that is the Chocolate Room, Mr. Salt thinks it's almost completely pointless (he grants that "the waterfall makes sense", as it doubles as a chocolate mixer) because "it isn't for anything and it doesn't make money". The other brats' guardians aren't much better: Mrs. Gloop thinks "It's a little cupboard of treats for a midnight feast", Mr. Beauregarde thinks it's a set for photo shoots, and Mrs. Teavee thinks "It's therapy." After all, why would anyone create something so elaborate without a "purpose" in mind?
- Demoted to Extra: Mr. Gloop, Mrs. Beauregarde, and Mr. Teavee.
- Fat and Proud: The Gloops.
- Genre Savvy: Mrs. Teavee, best summed up in the line "The little people are singing again. That's never a good sign."
- House Wife: While she is a geography teacher, Mrs. Teavee has all the trappings of the classical stereotype of this trope to the point that (as Mr. Wonka puts it) she's "dressed for 1958!" From the beginning, however, it's clear that she's a Stepford Smiler broken by her son's Enfant Terrible "hijinks".
- Large Ham: Mr. Beauregarde, reflecting his showbusiness background.
- My Beloved Smother: Mrs. Gloop is this even more than in other versions — she loves to prepare goodies for her son and thinks he's more adorable the fatter he gets! Mrs. Teavee also has shades of this after Mike has shrunk, stating that now she can look after him all day. "Just like I did when you were a tiny little baby!"
- Named by the Adaptation: Sir Robert Salt, Eugene Beauregarde, and Doris and Norman Teavee.
- Never My Fault: When Mr. Wonka — who's already noted that the gum Violet starts chewing as soon as it's within her reach, before he can even explain what it is, has "a problem with the dessert" course — warns her to stop chewing the experimental gum before she hits blueberry pudding, Mr. Beauregarde tells her "Ignore him, Vi! You chew, girl. Do it!" As her transformation into a blueberry begins, the appalled father shouts to Wonka "What have you done to her?"
- Only Sane Man: Mrs. Teavee is truly intimidated and scared by The Wonderland that is the factory and the fates of the others throughout (though Mr. Salt qualifies as this during "Juicy!" as well, when even Violet's own dad ignores the danger she's in), while the others are unnerved but still willing to go on with the tour even as catastrophes mount. Ironically, she's the parent who winds up making a Heel-Face Turn of a sort when she gets swept up in "Vidiots", The Villain Sucks Song for Mike.
- Pushover Parents: Mr. Salt and Mrs. Teavee both qualify. The former loves his daughter too much to deny her anything, and the latter only makes token attempts to discipline her son (partially out of fear), though she's proud to say that he only smokes two packs of cigarettes a day now.
- Skewed Priorities / Slimeball: The ever-moneymaking Eugene Beauregarde, who uses Violet for his own gain and is far more concerned about her marketability than her welfare when she undergoes her transformation. While "Juicy!" is primarily The Villain Sucks Song for Violet's undoing, the Oompa-Loompas point out his part in making her a spoiled, mindless brat: "Daddy wanted her to be the main attraction/Now everybody's talkin' 'bout 'Juicy'!"
- Stepford Smiler: Mrs. Teavee tries to be the perfect House Wife as a way of dealing with/denying her Enfant Terrible son. In fact, she's on even more medication than he is, and has a drinking problem.
So how does
Willy Wonka's factory produce sweets when no one is seen entering or leaving it? Well, during the time his factory was closed, he discovered a tribe of doll-sized people in faraway Loompaland, a Death World
of carnivorous beasts. When he learned that the Oompa-Loompas loved cacao beans (the basis of chocolate), he offered them jobs in his factory with payment in the form of said beans, and they all took him up on it. The loyal little workers are fond of making music and singing, and serve as a Greek Chorus
as the Golden Ticket finders tour the factory.
In the books and most adaptations
- Bowdlerise: The original book's description of the Oompa-Loompas was altered in the early 1970s to make the general concept less overtly racist. In the original 1964 edition, they were black African pygmies rather than Caucasian, golden-brown haired inhabitants of Loompaland.
- Cloudcuckoolanders: In the book.
- Crowd Song / Morality Ballad / The Villain Sucks Song: Their specialty is performing the former, and said songs usually count as the latter two tropes as well. Between the novels and adaptations, it's exceedingly rare to hear them speak.
- Greek Chorus: They're probably the most famous modern example of this trope, closing out chapters with their songs commenting on the bad kids' (and Grandma Georgina's in the sequel) fates.
- Happiness in Slavery: The Oompa-Loompas work and live in Mr. Wonka's factory for cacao beans, and are apparently thrilled with the arrangement. This could also have something to do with the value of the beans in their native culture where they are extremely scarce. To put it in perspective: imagine being paid in personal love slave services, recreational drugs, video games or your favourite vice. Another part of the reason why they may be so happy working for Mr. Wonka is because, while they do now have to work for their cacao beans, they are also allowed to live in comfortable housings in the factory, which is a fairly safe working environment. Back in Loompaland, they lived in rickety treehouses, survived primarily on mashed caterpillars, and spent their lives trying to hide from the variety of terrible monsters that also lived in Loompaland and which would devour Oompa-Loompas by the dozens if they could. Having to make chocolate in a strange land isn't much sacrifice when you didn't like your homeland in the first place and it means you don't have to worry about being eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a between-meals snack. That said, there is the fact that he uses them for testing the side effects of his confectionery, sometimes with (it's implied) FATAL results.
- The Hyena: In the book, they laugh at everything. Completely subverted in both movies — in the 1971 movie they never so much as smile, much less laugh, and in the 2005 movie they're a little more emotive but have one very brief giggle fit. On the other hand, in The Golden Ticket their (sung) laughter is a recurring melody. And while they don't laugh much in the 2013 musical, they're terribly gleeful and fun-loving all the same.
- The Illegal: Technically they're all this! Mr. Wonka explains "I smuggled them over in large packing cases with holes in them, and they all got here safely." Of course, they're generally better off than most examples of this trope, but still, this detail is startling to modern readers.
- Little People: And much littler than the norm. Dahl describes them as having the stature of "medium-sized dolls", with one coming up to about Mr. Wonka's knee. The children (the tour group sees some during their first trip via the Great Glass Elevator) are "no more than four inches high". Adaptations usually go with the stature of Real Life little people instead; the 2005 film is closer to the original conception, but winds up subject to Your Size May Vary. Also counts as...
- Little People Are Surreal
- No Name Given: None of them are referred to by names of any kind in the novels and most adaptations. The two exceptions are the 2005 film (the one female Oompa-Loompa seen is named "Gladys") and the 2013 stage musical (in which Mr. Wonka apparently knows all their names).
- Obsessed with Food: Cacao beans were incredibly rare in Loompaland, yet were "The one food they longed for more than any other" according to Mr. Wonka. This was the primary reason why they were willing to become his workers — they can enjoy all the cacao beans they want in his factory.
- Singing Is a Free Action: Everything stops for the Oompa-Loompas to sing the moral, even when Veruca falls down a chute that leads to an incinerator.
- It's only lit every OTHER day. They've got time. And if she's cooked...well, nothing to be done and they STILL have time! (Or she could just be stuck in the chute, so they've got time in that case as well.)
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cacao beans, to the point that said beans and/or chocolate are what they're paid in as employees of Mr. Wonka.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: The Oompa-Loompas highly value the cacao bean, something Willy Wonka happens to have plenty of.
In the 1971 film
- Amazing Technicolor Population: They have bright orange skin and green hair. The book hadn't yet been Bowdlerised when it was made, and the filmmakers didn't want to use the African pygmy description, so they went with a look that was "exotic" yet avoided the political incorrectness of the original. Also counts as...
- Lost in Imitation: In the novels (and illustrations for them) the Oompa-Loompas are simply unusually small Caucasian people who wear deerskins (men) or garments of leaves (women). Other adaptations go in their own directions with regards to their wardrobes. But most people think of them as an Amazing Technicolor Population clad in white overalls thanks to this film.
In the 2005 film
- Adaptation Personality Change: From The Hyena to The Comically Serious, effectively turning them into the straight men to Willy Wonka.
- Busby Berkeley Number: The Oompa-Loompas do one during the Augustus Gloop song.
- The Comically Serious: Aside from the aforementioned giggle fit, they are absolutely deadpan and quiet throughout the movie (though it turns out one of them is the Narrator All Along) when they're not in the midst of musical numbers — and even those they take quite seriously.
- Freudian Couch: One of them serves as a therapist for Willy Wonka near the end!
- Race Lift: Because all of them are played by one Indian actor, they get a majority-to-minority race lift by default.
- The Smurfette Principle: Out of the hundreds upon hundreds of Oompa-Loompas in this version, only one female — a secretary named Gladys — is seen onscreen! This is actually an improvement on most illustrations and adaptations, which don't depict any Oompa-Loompa women even though the novel makes it clear that they exist. (The only version with an about-even ratio of male to female Oompa-Loompas is the 2013 stage musical.)
- Strange Salute: They salute by crossing their arms over their chests — this may be a Shout-Out to Plan 9 from Outer Space.
- Your Size May Vary: They vary in size from about 18 inches (46 cm) tall to Deep Roy's actual size.
Miranda Mary Piker (Deleted character)
A character who was cut from the novel: an insufferable brat allowed to do anything she wanted, and who never missed a day of school in her life. She believes children should never laugh or have fun. Along with her father — a school headmaster — she met her end when she tried to smash a Spotty Powder machine (said powder allowed kids to play sick so they could have a day off from school). This caused them to fall to their apparent deaths, but Mr. Wonka revealed that what sounded like screams were them laughing for the first time in their lives. Spotty Powder and Other Splendiferous Secrets
(The Missing Golden Ticket and...
in the U.S.) features rough draft material from this subplot.
- Academic Alpha Bitch: She's spoiled and briany. She never missed a day of school in her life. She's the daughter of the school headmaster. She's allowed to do what she want, but she hates having fun and other children having fun.
- All Work vs. All Play: She's all work to an extreme.
- Brainy Brunette: Quentin Blake's illustrations in Spotty Powder give her brunette hair with...
- Hair Decorations: Her long braids have tied ribbons at the ends.
- Insufferable Genius: She's described as having a superior attitude to everybody else.
- Just Deserts: The Oompa-Loompa song about her claims that she will be turned into peanut brittle. (As in the song about Augustus Gloop, they regard this as an improvement.)
- Seven Deadly Sins: She is another facet of Pride in her Insufferable Genius manner.
- Smart People Wear Glasses: In the illustrations.
- Spoiled Brat: In an unusual way; she's allowed to do whatever she wants, but she doesn't want to do things that are conventionally pleasurable for kids and doesn't want other kids to do them either. This is a sharp contrast to the canonical brats, who are all hedonistic.
- Take That: She and her father were likely jabs at the schools Roald Dahl went to as a child, and the teachers in them.
- Teacher's Pet: Perhaps inevitable, given that she's the daughter of a headmaster.
- Uncertain Doom: Her actual fate isn't mentioned in the material that's been published. But given that the worst that happened to some of the bratty kids was turning into freaks, it's possible that the most that happened to Miranda and her father was being unable to stop laughing.
- Zettai Ryouiki: Her illustrations show her with C-high socks (below the knee). Possibly B-over knee, depending how you look at it.
Mr. Arthur Slugworth ( 1971 film-specific)
One of Mr. Wonka's underhanded rivals in the field of candymaking, he's only mentioned in passing in most versions but is an Ascended Extra
in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
. He approaches all five Golden Ticket finders in turn with the offer of even greater riches than what Mr. Wonka's promised if, during the tour, they manage to get a prototype Everlasting Gobstopper for him...
- Adaptation Expansion: In this film, he provides the major subplot.
- Ascended Extra: In the book and other versions, just one of Mr. Wonka's rivals and only mentioned; in the movie, a major supporting character and in the end turns out to be an employee of Mr. Wonka! As part of the kids' (but especially Charlie's) Secret Test Of Character, Mr. Wilkinson pretends to be Mr. Slugworth, making him a Good All Along Reverse Mole. Of course, this throws his associated tropes into a different light.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: One of many who bedevilled Mr. Wonka before he became a recluse — and he's still at it even now.
- Devil in Plain Sight: Charlie (and later Grandpa Joe) appear to be the only characters who are unnerved by him, even when he turns up at Mr. Salt's factory just in time for a worker to find a Golden Ticket for Veruca. (With the other brats, he blends in with members of the press to get access to them.) Of course, it probably helps that the four brats are greedy enough not to have any qualms with his offer in the first place.
- Evil Plan: He exploits Mr. Wonka's contest by approaching and bribing the Golden Ticket finders to steal a prototype invention for him, which he will figure out and duplicate to get it to the market first.
- Evil Wears Black: He wears a black suit.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Yep, he has glasses too.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has a scar on his face.
- Meaningful Name: Just like slugs, he's a slimy sort of guy.
- Named by the Adaptation: He's just known as Slugworth in the book.
- Obviously Evil: He's an example of Obviously Evil Appearance, considering all these surrounding tropes.
- The Rival: While Mr. Wonka has many rivals, in the movie Slugworth is said to be the worst out of all of them.
- Secret Test: The Slugworth plot serves to show that at least some of Mr. Wonka's quirkiness is Obfuscating Stupidity so that no one forms any outside attachment to him.
Dr. Wilbur Wonka ( 2005 film-specific)
Why is the 2005 incarnation of Willy Wonka so much more of a Man Child
than others? It has to do with a heretofore unknown Backstory
involving his dentist father...
- Alliterative Name: Just like his son.
- Anti-Villain / Well-Intentioned Extremist: A combination of Skewed Priorities and honest concern for his son's health drives his actions. When he finds that his son effectively wants to become his career antithesis, he chooses to abandon him.
- Canon Foreigner: The most significant one in any adaptation to date.
- Depraved Dentist: Subverted — he has the sinister air of this trope, but is really just an extremely Overprotective Dad.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: He is a dentist who doesn't allow his son to eat candy, driving Willy to rebel against him to achieve his dream of being a chocolatier.
- For Your Own Good: His harsh anti-candy stance is motivated by this. He's willing to let his son trick-or-treat on Halloween, but he takes the candy and throws it into a fire, piece by piece, as he lectures the boy about the downside of sweets. It's implied that in hindsight, he realized he Was Too Hard on Him.
- I Have No Son: He relocates his house when young Wonka runs away, so he cannot go back. Subverted: Charlie finds out that Wilbur collected various newspaper articles about his son's success in the years since, which are posted on the walls of his office.
- Overprotective Dad: For the sake of his son's teeth, he forbade all candy and made young Willy wear horrible braces and headgear. Interestingly, he may have had a point with the latter. He recognizes the adult Willy by his distinctive teeth, suggesting the boy really did have a problem that the braces corrected.
- Skewed Priorities: His obsession with healthy teeth and disdain for sweets seems to trump all.
The Walking Spoiler in the 2013 Stage Musical (Unmarked spoilers!)
The Tramp / Willy Wonka
Played by (Original London Cast Recording):
Savvy viewers will suspect it beforehand, but The Reveal
in the final moments of this adaptation is that that the elderly tramp Charlie Bucket encounters at the dump during Act One is actually Mr. Wonka in a disguise. (The 2005 musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka
and The Golden Ticket
have similar twists — he becomes a Composite Character
with the sweetshop owner — but the disguises are near-transparent in those versions and there is no reveal.) The following additional tropes apply to this version of the character and the show as a whole, but can't be revealed/discussed above or on the show's main page due to their spoileriffic nature.
- Adaptational Heroism: A complex example: While he is the reason Charlie gets a Golden Ticket in the first place, this information is kept from the audience until the last possible moment. Moreover, if his kindness to the worthy is expanded upon in this version, so is his disregard for the unworthy, making him truly AntiHeroic!
- Adaptation Expansion: Not a huge amount of expansion compared to other versions, but significant nonetheless.
- And the Adventure Continues: The reason he is seeking a successor in this version is because there's so much more he wants to create and accomplish in his life, but the day-to-day duties of running the factory are keeping him from doing so. Once he achieves this goal, he leaves his old life behind to pursue new dreams elsewhere.
- Anonymous Benefactor: To Charlie.
- Because You Were Nice to Me / Disproportionate Reward: A highly unconventional case of both tropes. Few — especially in the world of this show — would show basic politeness to a grumpy old homeless man, but Charlie (perhaps owing in part to his own humble background) is so good-natured and nonjudgmental that he is open and friendly to him. He's completely unaware that the tramp is actually someone very powerful who happens to be seeking a good child to become his heir, and if Charlie can be nice to the lowest-of-the-low, it stands to reason... That Charlie also shows a genuine appreciation of Mr. Wonka's work means a great deal to the latter, who's long felt taken for granted, and from that meeting on the boy is an unknowing Morality Pet whose path to an incredible happy ending is Mr. Wonka's work...with a few hoops the boy must jump through placed along the way to thoroughly test his kindness and creativity.
- But He Sounds Handsome: When Charlie explains to the tramp that he only collects Wonka Bar wrappers, he compliments the boy on his taste: "Ah, you're a connoisseur!"
- Cast as a Mask: Averted. To hide this, the tramp isn't mentioned in the cast list.
- Character Development: Subtly so. As Douglas Hodge sees it, Mr. Wonka "lost his faith in innocence" over time, disillusioned with/by a cynical adult world. This is how he developed a Sugar and Ice Personality. He also feels wanderlust to bring other wonderlands he's imagined into being, but he loves his factory too much to leave the beautiful, strange world within it to just anyone. (Hodge noted in a Broadway.com interview that he's thus "put himself on the scrapheap" — a Pun once one learns this plot twist.note ) When he meets Charlie in his tramp disguise, he quickly realizes that the boy is everything he's looking for in a successor, and his Hidden Heart of Gold is moved to action. As he leaves for a new adventure at the end, Mr. Wonka regards the whole business as putting the past behind him...which would mean he's put the disappointments that came with it behind him as well.
- Chekhov's Gunman: To those who are not Genre Savvy and/or familiar with The Law of Conservation of Detail, the tramp would appear to be a mere Canon Foreigner used to help establish Charlie's character in the early going...
- Deus Ex Scuse Me: He intentionally invokes this trope in the Imagining Room so Charlie's Secret Test can take place: He tells Charlie and Grandpa Joe that the latter has to come with him to another room to take care of legal paperwork, which is "grown-up stuff", so Charlie has to stay behind...alone...and not touch anything...
- Establishing Character Moment: His very first lines as the tramp — "Look at this mess. People just guzzle up their chocolate and throw away the wrappers without the slightest thought." — serve as this in hindsight. As successful and wealthy as he is thanks to people craving what he creates, he is still a sensitive artist at heart and deeply hurt to see his work being taken for granted. By the same token, he is touched to see poor Charlie vicariously appreciating it by collecting the discarded wrappers.
- Foreshadowing: There are several minor details/lines of dialogue that hint at the tramp's true identity and become obvious in hindsight.
- He carries a walking stick; in fact, his whole disguise (see Wig, Dress, Accent) turns out to be the dreary, wintry counterpart to his glamorous true look.
- He takes a seat in a broken British telephone box at the dump. Now, what does this version's Great Glass Elevator resemble?
- When Charlie explains that he's glad that others litter — "If people didn't throw things away, I'd have nothing to pick up." — he replies "Very philosophical, I'm sure." The line hints at Mr. Wonka's eccentric-yet-deep way of thinking and his Deadpan Snarker nature!
- The Leitmotif of the scenes at the dump turns out to be a chiming arrangement of "A Little Me", the song Mr. Wonka conducts in the entr'acte and performs as the show's last big production number.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: A cheeky variant, in that the prospect of this Willy Wonka entering the audience's world to continue his work can be seen as either marvelous or terrifying...or perhaps both...and he seems well aware of this!
- Grumpy Old Man: This is how he initially comes across as the tramp, but encountering Charlie causes him to take a modest level in cheerfulness.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: He rigs his own contest upon realizing that Charlie is worthy of a chance to inherit his factory but won't be able to find a ticket on his own. And he's the only person outside of Charlie's own family who sees his potential — everyone else just sees him as, to quote Cherry, an "unlikely urchin" who can't compare to his fellow Golden Ticket winners. For Mr. Wonka it's as easy for him to realize that the boy is a diamond in the rough as it is to recognize each brat as a Devil in Plain Sight when the rest of the world doesn't. See Jerkass Façade below for how he manages to hide his heart...
- Imagination-Based Superpower / Psychic Powers: In the closing moments, he bids his factory — and Charlie, who sees him from a window and waves — adieu so that he can travel to places "That are not yet conceived/That are not yet achieved/And they must be believed/To be seen..." As the orchestra sounds the final chord, he vanishes in full view of the audience — effectively teleporting away and leaving the implication that his mind and specifically his imagination is just that powerful.
- I Never Told You My Name: No one thinks anything of it, but Mr. Wonka is able to address Grandpa Joe by name when they are introduced at the factory because Charlie mentions him during "Almost Nearly Perfect". (In fact, he learns Charlie's name during that number by simply asking him "Young man, what did you say your name was?" when Charlie didn't say to begin with!)
- Jerkass Façade: He might not think well of the rest of the group, but his frosty treatment of Charlie during the tour — "Is least the last to join our cast?" for instance — is a cunning act that conceals from everyone (in and out of story) his Hidden Heart of Gold so no one suspects he rigged the ticket search for the boy's sake (and thus can execute a proper Secret Test). He keeps this up until he catches the boy adding to his precious idea notebook. Mr. Wonka initially dresses him down, suggesting he's no better than the brats because just as they had their habits, he has a habit of daydreaming...but it's an I Have Just One Thing to Say speech. When Charlie asks if he's done something wrong, Mr. Wonka replies "No, Charlie, strike that and reverse it. You've done something right. You've won." (By comparison, in other versions in which Mr. Wonka rigs things in Charlie's favor, he has a few Pet the Dog moments with the boy in both his personas.)
- King Incognito: As an eccentric recluse with a mysterious image to maintain, Mr. Wonka likely sees assuming a humble identity as the only way he can venture outside his factory. Given that he's feeling wanderlust, the classical image of The Tramp would naturally appeal to him.
- Master Actor and Master of Disguise: Beyond the heavy physical disguise, the lively, quick-on-his-feet Mr. Wonka affects a plodding walk and an air of weariness as the tramp. He is also able to conceal his true Large Ham nature, but if one focuses on him when Charlie reveals that he's found the last Golden Ticket, it is clear that he is just able to maintain this tired persona upon seeing that his plan has worked.
- Morality Pet: Charlie, though he doesn't know it, can defrost Mr. Wonka's Sugar and Ice Personality and bring out his kindest nature for several reasons: The boy appreciates his work in a way that others don't, he shows him unconditional kindness and politeness no matter what "form" he takes, and he reminds him of his own childhood self. (Again, there's some Rewatch Bonus here — pay attention to his reaction to Charlie's reaction to the sight of the Chocolate Room, or the boy insisting that "an Everlasting Gobstopper is still an amazing present.")
- No Name Given: As The Tramp.
- Rule of Three: The tramp appears three times — twice in Act One, and finally in the last moments of the show.
- Shapeshifting Excludes Clothing: When he vanishes, his disguise lands on the ground in a heap.
- Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: The audience last sees Mr. Wonka in his tramp disguise and realizes that they are one and the same as soon as he begins singing in his "true" voice.
- The Three Faces of Adam: Charlie is the Hunter, while Mr. Wonka is both the Lord and the Prophet — he wants to create new works elsewhere, but not before he finds someone who can ensure the continued success of the factory, which he still cares deeply about. His masquerade as the tramp is the visualization of his Prophet aspect: elderly, world-weary, fearful that the values he cherishes (innocence and creativity in particular) mean nothing to younger generations. As Charlie has more in common with Mr. Wonka than he realizes — not for nothing is the Pep Talk Song Wonka sings to him called "A Little Me" — it's more pronounced than in other versions that the two are distinct-yet-related aspects of one metaphorical being. Among touchpoints between the two:
- They are the only characters who get solo songs (two apiece).
- They are the only characters who have Catch Phrases.
- Each gets a bit of stage business in which they send something into the air: Charlie "sends" his letter to Mr. Wonka by folding it into a paper airplane and casting it to the winds (whereupon it "flies" up to the balcony). During "Simply Second Nature", when a sudden wave of his walking stick reveals a butterfly perched upon it, Mr. Wonka gently takes it in his hand and releases it into the air.
- Two Aliases, One Character
- Wham Song: His Triumphant Reprise of "It Must Be Believed to Be Seen" serves as Mr. Wonka's way of revealing to the audience 1) he was the tramp, 2) he's only retiring from running the factory, not from creating things, and 3) he's traveling to their world next!
- Wig, Dress, Accent: The basis of his disguise. Wig: Straggling, graying hair and a full beard to go with it. Dress: A tattered overcoat, scarf, cap, and gloves in varying shades of gray and black, with sagging boots to complete the ensemble. Accent: A ragged-with-age, lower-pitched voice.
- Your Favorite: In the opening scene, Charlie mentions that the Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight is his favorite variety of Wonka Bar. Mr. Wonka remembers this detail and uses it to engineer Charlie's Golden Ticket find.